Alaska Airlines vs Virgin America in Economy – Which Should You Book?

Alaska Airlines vs Virgin America Economy

Here’s how to decide…

Now that the merger is complete, elites on both Virgin and Alaska should be receiving their perks on both airlines, and points can now be transferred from Virgin over to Alaska. Everyone who was a member of the two programs as of December 5, 2016 should also have gotten 10,000 bonus miles (though on Flyertalk it sounds like some people missed the miles and got 4 upgrades and 4 Board Room passes instead…bummer). Regardless of program membership, West coast flyers now have a choice when booking routes served by both airlines. The question is, all else being equal, should you book your flight on a Virgin plane or an Alaska plane? With ~180k butt-in-seat miles on Alaska and ~80k on Virgin, we’ve got some answers…

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IndiGo A320 Seat Plus XL Review in 14 photos

IndiGo Airlines Seat Review

So far it’s Seatlink’s favorite LCC in India

Based on some of the posts on this blog, you might think all we do is fly first and business class on longhaul flights all day, ignoring what goes on behind the curtain and what is obviously the largest air travel market by passenger volume: short haul economy. False! The reality of travel is you can’t get everywhere you want to go in a lie-flat seat, and in fact some of the best destinations are only accessible by narrowbodies and turboprops, and we like those destinations…

Enter a recent trip to the Andaman Islands in India: the easiest (and only) way to get there is via an Indian carrier from a handful of cities. Given my slight fascination with the LCC business model, I made us skip Jet Airways and try out IndiGo and GoAir on our way flights to and from Port Blair (IXZ). We had heard that SpiceJet has pretty bad reliability, so given our tight connections we decided to skip them. Here’s how the IndiGo flight went:

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Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Upper Class Review in 56 Pictures

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Cabin

Minor updates to a solid, stylish business class experience

On my latest trip to London I decided to try and get on the 787-9 of both major British carriers — the British Airways 787-9 in first class, and then a nice revisit to Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9. Not necessarily a fair comparison between the two airlines given that I flew in two different cabins, but that wasn’t necessarily my goal. Instead, I wanted to take my first two 787-9 flights on new products, and the award availability for my dates gave me the perfect chance to try these two airlines in one trip. Virgin Atlantic was one of my earliest business class experiences back in the day, and I’ve always been a fan of the Virgin brands for their ‘fun’ but professional approach to the air travel experience, which can often be boring and/or stuffy. While Virgin chose not to introduce a new seat on the 787 — I was really hoping for something equally as innovative as the introduction of their original Upper Class — they did make some good updates, as you’ll see in the gallery below.

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Emirates Flagship A380 First Class Review in 26 Photos

The Emirates A380 First Class cabin

Short but suite!

Experiencing Emirates first class usually means flying a long flight and going through Dubai, but there are a handful of short fifth-freedom routes where you can experience EK luxury for comparatively low cost in dollars or miles. Since getting to BKK from the US means stopping somewhere anyway, I opted to route through Hong Kong just so I could follow up my Cathay first class review with a little more luxury and a shower at 35,000 feet 😉 Because this was a short flight, I missed out on the full meal experience, but otherwise this was as first class as it gets…

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Inflight Review: Alaska Airlines New Premium Class (Premium Economy)

Alaska Airlines 737 Exit Row Seats

Noticeably more legroom, early boarding, free cocktails; and…??

A few weeks ago I wrote about the official introduction of Alaska’s new premium economy offering called Premium Class. I detailed what that means for Alaska flyers in terms of upgrades etc. in that post, so I won’t rehash that here, but I will share my thoughts on what it’s like to sit in these new seats. In short, the legroom alone is worth the upgrade — it sure is making my 5+ hour flight from SEA to IAD more enjoyable today. Here’s what to expect when flying Alaska’s Premium Class…

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Singapore 777-200 Regional Business Class Review in 15 Pictures

Singapore 777-200 Regional Business Class

Yes, Singapore could do better, but it’s still a solid product compared to other regional business class cabins in Asia

Singapore Airlines is, in my opinion, one of the best deals in the sky when it comes to point redemptions and even revenue fares for premium cabin travel. I’ve flown their A380 suites product a handful of times on the NRT/LAX route, their “vanilla” first class in Asia and to the US, and their A380 business to FRA from JFK. I had never, however, flown their regional product, so jumped at the opportunity to do so on my way from China to Indonesia. Singapore seems to really value and take pride in providing excellent service and going that extra few inches for passenger comfort when it comes to business and first class hard product (the seats!) – they do have the widest business class seats in the sky – so how does Singapore’s regional business class stack up? Let’s take a look…

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Air France A340-300 Business Class Seat Review, SXM to CDG

Air France A340 Business Class Review

Uninspiring (but totally adequate) business class product

One of the things I love about the Caribbean is that while air traffic is dominated by single-aisle or turboprop aircraft, a few islands are the destination for long-haul aircraft from Europe. Perhaps the most well-known for aviation enthusiasts is Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, which is one of the best planespotting places in the world. From this island, you can fly both KLM (used to be 744, now 333 or 332) and Air France (343/346) to Europe on Amex/FlyingBlue points. As part of an RTW trip I decided to get some Maho Beach photo time in and make my way to Paris on the AF flight by redeeming some FlyingBlue points for a business class seat, given that this is a redeye flight. I’ve flown AF J a few times, and while it’s not the best in the sky (angle flat, not lie flat, for example…), it is good enough for a few hours of sleep and a decent airline meal. Here’s what you can expect…

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Cape Air Review – Cessna 402 from St Thomas STT to San Juan SJU

Cape Air Review

Grab a seat…in the copilot seat?

Cape Air is a regional truboprop carrier with bases in New England and the Caribbean, which basically means that if you find yourself flying them, you’re probably flying to or from an awesome vacation spot…like sailing in the BVI for 10 days. Or you’re commuting…but let’s skip that scenario. One of the cool things about flying any airline that operates planes like this (Cessna 402, Caravan, Otter Sea Plane, etc.) is that the depending on weight/balance and flight load, the copilot seat is often up for grabs. Knowing this, and being the aviation geek that I am, the first thing I do when I get to the gate is tell the gate agent that I would love to sit in the copilot seat if possible — and as of this writing I’m 3 for 4 on that. While this seat is more cramped than the others on the plane – it does have restricted legroom! – it has hands down the best views of any seat on any aircraft. Here’s what it’s like…

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British Airways 787-9 New First Class Review – This is What First Class Is All About

British Airways 787-9 New First Class

If only all BA F seats could be like this!

As one of only two carriers with plans to install a first class product on the 787 (Etihad being the other one), I didn’t hesitate to fly out of my way to get on the British Airways 787-9. Not only is it unique in that it’s First Class on a 787, but BA has always had a very stylish product, and the photos I had seen of this iteration of their First Class looked awesome. I have knocked BA First in the past, but if ever I was going to be wowed by BA, this flight would be it. Knowing that, I hopped on this flight with an open mind, kind of like it was my first time in First…except it wasn’t (I’ve flown BA F many times), and once you turn left when boarding a plane you don’t go back (and maybe you start to become a seat snob), but I still wiped my BA slate clean and was excited to test out this new product. So how did it stack up? Let’s take a look…

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JetBlue A321 Mint Review – The Best Domestic Business Class Seat/Suite Around

JetBlue Mint Business Class Suite

Call it a seat or call it a suite, either way it’s best-of-breed for domestic flights

It’s only been around for about 2.5 years, but JetBlue’s Mint product has been a game-changer since its launch. Not only is it unique or even unheard of for a low-cost-carrier (LCC), but it’s on a whole new level for transcon business class products, period. Sure, AA, UA, and DL all offer lie-flat options on select transcon routes (mostly LAX/SFO/SEA to JFK/BOS/ATL), but nobody has business class with a 1-1 configuration (rows 2 and 4; 1, 3, 5 are all 2-2), let alone with a door to make the seat a veritable suite. The best part? These seats can be had for a fraction of the price of AA/UA/DL/VS transcon, though I have seen that the legacy carrier business class fares have been forced to drop due to the pressure JetBlue is putting on them in those markets. This flight was ~$600 for me, whereas at time of booking AA would’ve been $2200! Here’s why you should book JetBlue Mint over a legacy carrier at least once…

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