My route to Las Vegas took me from London to Los Angeles on a British Airways A380 (review in a couple of days). From LA, I booked myself onto Virgin America for the short hop to Las Vegas.
If you want to get a flavour for the airline, take a look at their safety video which I highlighted on Saturday. It tells you all you need to know!
The Virgin America message seems to be:
We want to make flying fun and interesting and less stuffy, but
We also want to offer a far superior product to our competitors
They have, I think, succeeded.
It didn’t start incredibly well to be honest. Having whizzed through immigration in record time, I found myself with a rather long gap before my Vegas flight.
The Virgin America website makes big claims for their lounge, The Loft. In truth, it is pretty pathetic. The view over the apron and runway is impressive (photo below) but there are no facilities to speak of and the food offering is poor. There is a functional bar. In no way does it justify the $40 cost of a day pass.
They would not even let me in with my First Class ticket (only refundable First Class tickets are accepted). Luckily I had my Priority Pass with me and used that to enter.
After two hours of thumb twiddling, I boarded.
If you have flown Virgin Little Red you will have seen the mood lighting used in the cabin. British Airways is doing something similar with its refurbished short-haul planes although I have yet to see it in action. Virgin America does something similar but with some added pizzazz. Take a look at this photograph of mine – the bulkhead is a single piece of clear purple Perspex!
Even in economy, Virgin America knocks other US and European carriers out. Each seat has a built-in TV. There is wi-fi (not free, but cheap – $3 for 30 minutes). Seat pitch is 32 inches – substantially more than British Airways is now offering with its refurbished seats. You can order food and drink via the TV, paying directly with a credit card via the screen.
If you want more legroom, you can upgrade to Main Cabin Select. This offers a whopping 38 inches of legroom:
Then we come to First Class, where I was sitting. I will discuss that tomorrow.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)