Virgin America F is better than UA, but not twice as good

Old Oct 19, 16, 5:29 pm
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Virgin America F is better than UA, but not twice as good

I fly almost exclusively for leisure travel, and i frequently route MCO-LAX

Just priced this out (o/w fare) for 10/21, on UA its $722 o/w, on VX, its $1744.

My opinions:
The seats are slightly better in VX
Food is about the same
Service is about the same
On time performance about the same
both have wifi and entertainment

Whats all the fuss about the VX product being "far superior" than other airlines.

its just my opinion.

I think its a superior product, just not "far superior"

wondering what the general opinion is

maybe its just my route
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Old Oct 19, 16, 11:09 pm
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Originally Posted by caseminole View Post
maybe its just my route
Sure.
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Old Oct 19, 16, 11:13 pm
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Originally Posted by caseminole View Post
My opinions:
The seats are slightly better in VX
Food is about the same
Service is about the same
On time performance about the same
both have wifi and entertainment
Curious: how do you rank these priorities? For your truly leisure travel?

Definitely concur. VX "F" is less than 2x UA domestic "F".
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Old Oct 19, 16, 11:27 pm
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That's a pricing anomaly. VX F is not typically 2x UA F; it's typically competitive, sometimes even less.

UA remains the worst airline in the country by a mile, IMO. Being in SF, I am still stuck flying it if I have to go to poorly served cities, but it's a decidedly unpleasant experience for various reasons at least 70% of the time.
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Old Oct 21, 16, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by shza View Post
That's a pricing anomaly. VX F is not typically 2x UA F; it's typically competitive, sometimes even less.

UA remains the worst airline in the country by a mile, IMO. Being in SF, I am still stuck flying it if I have to go to poorly served cities, but it's a decidedly unpleasant experience for various reasons at least 70% of the time.
I hear you but , playing devils advocate here, what makes the VX F famously better?

It is the food?
FA ?
seats?
On time performance?

Again, just being honest.

The seats are FAR AND ABOVE better than UA F

But, i thought the food choices and quality were equal

My flights are almost always on time (VX and UA)

The flight attendants have been great on both

Is it marketing?
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Old Oct 21, 16, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by caseminole View Post
I hear you but , playing devils advocate here, what makes the VX F famously better?
It's not famously better just because of a one-time pricing differential. You can't assume that a random price on a random day picked out of the air where VX is more expensive than UA makes VX "two times better".

VX wins awards on their product. UA... doesn't. I don't think I'd pay $1721 for a US domestic flight in F, or ~$1000 more over UA for "better" (Neither airline really works for me based out of SEA since I hate SFO ground holds and routing through LAX to the East Coast or on midcons is stupid, and UA gave up the ghost on SEA). Neither would you. But one day where VX is more expensive doesn't mean much of anything.
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Old Oct 22, 16, 10:49 am
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I have actually flown MCO-LAX quite a bit but would only buy if it is $599 one way.

VX has a small F cabin so availability is a bit poor if last minute purchase. But MCO-LAX always has the cheap below $600 fare, especially if you book early enough. FLL-LAX may be $100 more expensive, but with JetBlue Mint entering that market, things might change.

But VX has many issues with these dated first class seats. They were breaking left and right. I was downgraded from FC to MCS middle after two seats on the plane broke (1A and 1F on N632VX YouTube Air) and was pretty upset. (I got a refund of fare plus $200 travel credit, so I could not complaint anymore. But it was a major inconvenient and made me hesitate to book VX F now).

VX needs to either update the seats or do better maintenance.

Carfield
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Old Oct 24, 16, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Carfield View Post
I have actually flown MCO-LAX quite a bit but would only buy if it is $599 one way.

VX has a small F cabin so availability is a bit poor if last minute purchase. But MCO-LAX always has the cheap below $600 fare, especially if you book early enough. FLL-LAX may be $100 more expensive, but with JetBlue Mint entering that market, things might change.

But VX has many issues with these dated first class seats. They were breaking left and right. I was downgraded from FC to MCS middle after two seats on the plane broke (1A and 1F on N632VX YouTube Air) and was pretty upset. (I got a refund of fare plus $200 travel credit, so I could not complaint anymore. But it was a major inconvenient and made me hesitate to book VX F now).

VX needs to either update the seats or do better maintenance.

Carfield
Good points.

yes, still trying to see what makes VX so good, comparatively speaking.

I understand my personal sample size doesnt help me see this.

Would like input from folks who fly both airlines
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Old Oct 24, 16, 9:29 pm
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Originally Posted by caseminole View Post
Good points.

yes, still trying to see what makes VX so good, comparatively speaking.

I understand my personal sample size doesnt help me see this.

Would like input from folks who fly both airlines
Comparatively speaking (and this is from someone who has only been on UA once in the past 4 years, but has plenty of other domestic experience on the rest of the competition...


(1) Boarding. F / MCS / Elite boarding enforced like no other airline. Always bin space.

(2) PDB. Near 100% full bar, and often time for a second if you want.

(3) Seats - I haven't had any real malfunctions (save the Red system), although my VX flying this year has been minimal. The cabin spaciousness is a lot more comfy than typical domestic F, and the FA to passenger ratio is great.

(4) Food - even if you don't like much on the meal tray, there is the F snack basket, and then the entire Y food selection is yours for the asking.

(5) SFO T2 is one of the most relaxing terminal experiences in the USA. I can't say that for certain other VX terminals. But at least I have SFO T2 as the start of my trips.

(6) I have only had one truly awful VX inflight experience (albeit on a JFK/SFO). I've had a couple of mediocre flights, but for the most part, the crews are better than UA and AA, probably not better than AS and DL up front.

All the above said, I haven't flown to/from NYC on VX in a couple of years because the F fares just haven't been competitive. I'd have paid a bit more, but I've been flying in lie flats on AA for so many hundreds less each way that I will do without my VX cookie box. For a similar price, I'd probably choose VX over a daytime AA flight.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by caseminole View Post
I hear you but , playing devils advocate here, what makes the VX F famously better?

It is the food?
FA ?
seats?
On time performance?

Again, just being honest.

The seats are FAR AND ABOVE better than UA F

But, i thought the food choices and quality were equal

My flights are almost always on time (VX and UA)

The flight attendants have been great on both

Is it marketing?
In my experience, UA is consistently a horrible experience.

The hard product is terrible, particularly on the non-PS planes.

The food, in my experience, is disgusting. I turned down the meal entirely the last time I flew UA F; it was some kind of greasy casserole that they peeled saran wrap off of before serving. Legitimately worse than Econ meals used to be.

At least half the time, the flight attendants are downright nasty. Disinterested and brusque is an overachievement.

Being in SF, I am stuck with UA when traveling to non-major cities, but it is my absolute last choice whenever there is a choice (not counting Spirit).
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Old Oct 29, 16, 3:05 pm
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Did the VX Gold challenge this year and have only flown on the west coast. I'm flying a VX F Trancon (JFK-LAX) in F for the first time this November. Looking forward to seeing what the experience is like. Picked up a Saturday fare for $599 OW which I thought was ok.

I was surprised at the relatively robust prices VX was charging for the NYC-West Coast routes.
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Old Oct 31, 16, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by jimmygottfredson View Post
Did the VX Gold challenge this year and have only flown on the west coast. I'm flying a VX F Trancon (JFK-LAX) in F for the first time this November. Looking forward to seeing what the experience is like. Picked up a Saturday fare for $599 OW which I thought was ok.

I was surprised at the relatively robust prices VX was charging for the NYC-West Coast routes.
As I'm sure you're aware, it's the same fleet/seats/configuration on the transcons as it is along the west coast (or anywhere else VX flies). So the only difference between this F experience and a short hop from SFO to LAX in F is that you'll get a (pretty good) meal and (usually) a duvet.
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Old Nov 3, 16, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by shza View Post
That's a pricing anomaly. VX F is not typically 2x UA F; it's typically competitive, sometimes even less.

UA remains the worst airline in the country by a mile, IMO. Being in SF, I am still stuck flying it if I have to go to poorly served cities, but it's a decidedly unpleasant experience for various reasons at least 70% of the time.
Definitely not my experience on prices. On SFO-WAS, VX is consistently outrageously expensive with a relatively thin schedule (lowest filed fare right now is ~$800 o/w). Similar with NYC; they seem to be the only airline staunchly refusing to offer a 600-650 price point daily to match B6 - and they don't even have a lie-flat product!

I tend to agree with OP that VX is definitely better, but IMO not in any overwhelming sense. I fly UA regularly because it's cheaper, and I can't really buy into the cult of hate. VX has a more refined premium cabin experience and better service because of the smaller cabin, and a somewhat more luxurious seat, but both will get me where I'm going in reasonable comfort, fed and watered. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but if I'm just lounging in a seat, 37-40" pitch is fine. If I'm sleeping, I much prefer a flatbed seat. The 55 inches on VX just feels like something I'm paying through the nose for, but can't find a way to really extract value from.
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