Virgin America Deconstructed

It’s an curious thing to watch one airline acquire another. Here in the United States we’ve watched eight large airlines combine into four over the last ten years. Delta with Northwest, United with Continental, Southwest with AirTran and finally American with US Air. All of them were different in nature, and all four of these combinations created four modern behemoth carriers.

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Virgin America Announces End Date For Airline Partners

Earlier this year Alaska Airlines announced the wind down process for the Virgin America brand, as well as their loyalty program called Elevate. One of the items that was clearly communicated in this announcement was the actual end date for the Elevate program, December 31st, 2017. At that time Elevate would be ended, and all existing Elevate members would be converted into the Alaska Airlines Mileage Program.

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Virgin America A321neo Inaugural Flight

Today Virgin America operated the first revenue inaugural flight of the Airbus A321neo aircraft. Flight VX1 took off from San Francisco at 8:00am PDT and landed five hours later at Washington D.C.’s Regan Airport. The occasion was celebrated by both Airbus and Virgin America with cake and balloons at the gate, and commemorative pins and key chains handed out during the flight. The A321neo is Airbus’s newest version of their popular A320 family of aircraft. Virgin America was the worldwide launch airline carrier for the new aircraft produced by Airbus.

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Final Evening At The Loft, May 10th 2017

I’m writing this post from The Loft, Virgin America’s lounge at LAX Terminal 3 on the night of May 10th. Tonight is the last night for this lounge to be open, and I happen to be flying into LAX this evening. Normally I would go directly from the airport to my go-to hotel at LAX, The Hyatt Regency. But since the club is closing I decided to stop by and pay one final visit, on the final evening of, Virgin America’s only lounge.

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Virgin America To Launch Airbus a321neo Late May

Airbus a321neo (by Airbus)

Virgin America is planning to launch its first flight of the Airbus a321neo aircraft on May 31st, 2017 on its San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Washington’s Regan National Airport (DCA). The airline has had orders on the Airbus a321neo since 2010, well before any plans of a merger with Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines is an all-Boeing fleet (except for the smaller Embraer E175s run under Horizon Air). Virgin America by contrast is an all Airbus fleet.

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Update On My Plan For Airline Elite Status

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about elite status, and what my strategy and plans are for airline frequent flying. I’ve held elite status with Delta for many years including both Diamond and Platinum levels. I still enjoy flying with Delta, and operationally the airline is very good. I also find the Delta front line employees to be some of the best. They genuinely enjoy their jobs, and most of the time I see it reflected in my interactions with them.

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Virgin America Short Haul Domestic First Class – Los Angeles to San Francisco

About 40 minutes before our flight we left the Loft lounge and proceeded to gate 35. It’s down the back stairs and a very short walk. Gate 35 is in a narrow corner of terminal 3. Waiting travelers are disbursed everywhere as there’s not much in the way of seating. After standing and waiting for about 15 minutes the gate agent called for first class to board.

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