7th March 2014 at 16:49 #588822
Anonymous7th March 2014 at 16:49 #588823
I have been an Elevate Founding member since Virgin America began flying in 2007 and they have become my preferred airline in the US. I am also a Gold member frequent flyer. I flew from JFK to Las Vegas the week before the Christmas holiday, so the flight was full. Fortunately, I could fly First Class this trip and could bypass the slower pre-holiday security lines.
I drove to JFK, parked and took the AirTrain to the terminal. (I prefer NOT to drive, but rather take public transit or a taxi, but chose to drive due to return trip requirements.) Busy start to the day, but economy line was relatively short and only one ahead in First Class line. VX rep was fast and very pleasant. My bag was tagged and sent on its way to the plane. Ordinarily I only have one carry on bag and check in online, but had a bag to check this time. So I chose to see the desk rep. When unable to print an online boarding pass, you can also use one of the many kiosks available.
Due to my First Class status, I was in a shorter TSA security line. As expected, JFK security is thorough and everyone had more “stuff” for their pre-holiday flight baggage. With several travelers unfamiliar with the TSA routine, it can be much slower than other times during the year. For any holiday travel, flying in First is seriously the best way to travel OR get TSA PRE OR a Clear card (helpful at a few airports) to zip through the security lines faster. As a TSA PRE, I did not have to remove my shoes, but they still screen everything else and require the usual plastic bag for liquids and laptop check. It is NOT necessary to pull your Tablets from your bag, so easier to travel with that gadget instead of the laptop these days. As a result, I breezed through the TSA checkpoint in under 10 minutes.
The JFK terminal is huge and requires a lot of walking from VX counter to the gates, so provide lots of time to reach your gate. There is a VX Club, but it is BEFORE security, so be prepared for the time needed to clear security. Although I was entitled to use it, I did not this trip.
As typical for Virgin America, the gate people were efficient and friendly as people approached with questions. Boarding was also quick and I was the second passenger on board. Once into my seat, the flight attendant took my pre-flight drink order (champagne, of course! TO Vegas and not driving– so spoil yourself.) I was settled and ready to roll long before the last passenger was aboard. Full flight, so many bags were taken/checked at the door. Attendants were in communication with each other the whole boarding process and knew where overhead bids were available or not. Very efficient and helpful, especially for the coach travelers.
VX has a new in flight video for departure procedures, which is as funny and informative as their original version. With only two planes types, frequent travelers can easily become familiar with the safety features.
Departure was on-time and captain assured us of a smooth flight ahead. We were lucky it was not a bumpy flight and fortunately without winter weather delays.
I received my meals and treats at reasonable intervals. Smaller portions, but just as well with the sedentary flight. Food is better than average in First and you do have access to the coach treats upon request. I was fortunate to have great seatmate — quiet and respectful.
Arrival at LAS was uneventful and on time. Off the plane quickly and headed to baggage claim. A longer wait than I anticipated, but not extraordinarily bad. First Class bags are tagged Priority and it did arrive in the first 10 down the chute. LAS has lots of taxis and I made an easy escape to my hotel.
The VX phone and airport customer service is reliable and friendly. Attendants calm under pressure and helpful. Pilots get me there on time and safely. Bags arrive in good condition and since 2007, they have never lost or misplaced any of my bags. I have flown in all three classes over the years for short- and long-haul flights and coach seats are usually a great value. Points rather than miles for FF rewards helps with easy redemption. Easy to exchange flights and the Travel Bank is great for keeping track of the refunded dollars. No need to keep vouchers or flight info to reuse. All things considered, Virgin America is my preferred domestic airline and I have converted many business travelers to try VX. Enjoy your flight. I certainly enjoyed mine.3rd July 2014 at 20:39 #588824
Hi there. I’ll be flying out of JFK to SFO on Virgin First Class this fall.
I was going to apply for TSA Pre-Check, mainly because I’m taking my 83 year old mother on a trip, and her not having to remove her shoes would be very helpful (I’ll admit, not having to take my laptop out would be nice).
But I’ve been reading around that Pre-Check has become very crowded at times… in your experience is FC smoother than Pre-Check, even with the added requirements?9th July 2014 at 00:01 #588825
Scott_R, she won’t need to take her shoes off anyway:
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