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.
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!
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?