Virgin America Lives On…..Sort Of & How to Experience Their Old First Class Before It’s Gone!

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Virgin America Lives On

Virgin America Lives On

Back on January 11 of this year Virgin America technically ceased to exist. On that date both Virgin America and Alaska Airlines began operating under the same operator certificate. Of course to customers the Virgin brand was still very much alive and well for at least a few months.

Then about a week ago on April 25, 2018 Alaska ditched the Virgin brand.  As they put it, “we became a single airline in the eyes of our guests.” This means that old Virgin planes and flights are now operated and sold under the Alaska Airlines brand, but has Virgin really disappeared?

My Experience Flying Old Virgin Planes on Alaska

The answer is kind of, but not really. At least not yet. Yesterday I had the opportunity to fly SFO-LAX and LAX-LAS (old Virgin routes) on “Alaska Airlines”. While the ticket was sold as an Alaska Airlines flight and the boarding gate was Alaska branded, the in-flight experience was very much Virgin. And I wasn’t complaining.

As an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP member, I was able to get a free upgrade to First Class on my LAX-LAS flight. Up until about a week ago MVP members weren’t eligible for First Class upgrades on Virgin flights, so this was a nice treat. I had always wanted to check out the seats and they are indeed amazing for a domestic flight. Especially one that lasts 51 minutes.

Virgin America Lives On
Virgin America’s iconic mood lighting.

Virgin America Lives On
No Alaska Airlines safety cards….yet.

It isn’t just the seats that are still Virgin though. While the flight attendants thank you for flying Alaska Airlines, literally everything else remains from Virgin America for now. The livery is still Virgin and so is the “Red” IFE system and the safety cards. When you get on the plane you will still see that familiar purple mood lighting and the flight attendants continue to wear their old Virgin uniforms. Additionally cups and napkins are Virgin branded and for now they still show their amazing safety video that I have come to love.

Try It Before It’s Too Late!

Virgin America Lives On
Virgin America First Class. I’m so glad I finally got to try this product before it disappeared.

Since Virgin officially went away as a brand on April 25, it is going to take awhile for Alaska to de-brand everything. Slowly everything will change as these aircraft are reconfigured with a much higher density first class and Alaska Airlines everything. For now though you can still experience this defunct airline, even if it has a slightly different name.

It’s also a great time if you are an Alaska elite since you are eligible for upgrades to that amazing first class seat on old Virgin aircraft. You might also consider purchasing a first class upgrade if you’re not an elite just to experience the product. These seats will be gone soon, so it could be a way to experience what was a unique and fun product and one that is going into the history books. RIP Virgin America. Eventually.

Are you sad now that Virgin America is sort of officially gone? 

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. How does one distinguish pre-AS from pre-VX flights? Did a status match for MVP 75K and wanted to experience it as well.

    • For now look for flights on ex-Virgin routes. These will be on Airbus Aircraft compared to Boeing for old Alaska. With that said, as they retrofit these planes you could end up with the new Alaska product on an Airbus. For now Airbus means old Virgin.

  2. This is one of those times I actually hope they slowly update the seats. I just flew DAL to sfo in first on a virgin plane. They even still had the fun airplane salt and pepper shakers.

  3. I have booked 7 flights in Y over the next 3 months specifically on pmVX metal.. as 75K I’m hoping that I score F on ALL of them .. and I also hope AS ends up pushing the refurb dates way into the future.

    Is there any indication of when AS plans on refurbing these planes ?

    • I tried to find out when they will be refurbing them and couldn’t find any schedule set. My guess is that they will start soon, but it will take them awhile to get around to doing it. I am surprised that they haven’t opted to change anything on the inside. I suspect the uniforms and some other stuff might change before the planes are switched over. For now it’s a great opportunity for AS elites, but the only down side is there are only 8 First Class seats.


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