As Delta acquires $360 million stake in Virgin Atlantic, here’s a flashback post:
It’s a truism – not to mention a first world problem – to say that once you’ve experienced first class air travel, you’ll never want to turn right on an airplane ever again. Unfortunately, as habits go, paying for upgraded travel makes heroin look cost-effective – costing somewhere in the order of $1,000 an hour if you fly international. Meantime, domestic first class, while more affordable, isn’t worthy of the name on most airlines: smeared glassware and a slightly bigger seat does not a luxury experience make.
And so it’s little wonder that I’ve have become irredeemably addicted to Virgin America’s first class offering, combining as it does all of the decadence of international first class: dedicated security line, priority boarding, gigantic leather seats that recline in half a dozen cool ways at the touch of a button, pre-flight drinks in real glassware, actual (complimentary) food – and, most importantly of all, the insanely attentive on board service that Virgin America has become rightly known for.
But the real reason why Virgin America’s first class service is perfect for luxury junkies is the price. Don’t even think about booking in advance – you’ll pay $1000 for a seat, which is ridiculous. Instead wait until six hours before flying and either check-in online or at the airport. On all but the most popular flights, you’ll be offered a first class upgrade for a fraction of the usual cost. For San Francisco to New York, that’s around $250 each way, and for Los Angeles to San Francisco, you’ll usually get change for $100.
PAUL CARR lives permanently in hotels around the world, writing books about himself. His latest book, The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations, tells the painfully true story of how Paul came to live in hotels, and how the adventures which followed almost killed him. http://www.paulcarr.com