Much-anticipated Virgin America began selling tickets early this morning. The airline will take to the skies on August 8 with service between San Francisco and Los Angeles and New York’s JFK. Prices start at $44 each-way between San Francisco and Los Angles and $139 each-way between Los Angeles and New York.
When I tested Virgin’s booking system, I was able to find the lowest fares and the system proved fairly easy to use. A quick comparison search showed Virgin America’s fares to be the lowest available in August for both the San Francisco/Los Angeles and New York/San Francisco routes.
Virgin America will be launching several other routes later in the year. Start dates and one-way fares include:
- $139 between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles beginning August 29
- $129 between San Francisco and Washington (Dulles) beginning September 26
- $44 between San Francisco and Las Vegas beginning October 10
- $129 between Los Angeles and Washington (Dulles) beginning October 24
The airline is selling first-class fares for $149 each way between San Francisco and Los Angeles and $389 between New York and San Francisco or Los Angeles. These first-class prices are extremely affordable compared to other airlines, especially considering that Virgin’s first-class seating is touted as being closer to international business class than domestic first class. Seats have a 55-inch pitch, a built-in massage function, and an in-flight entertainment console.
Coach seats will be equipped with an entertainment screen with which you can watch TV, listen to MP3s, or screen pay-per-view movies. The main cabin will also have a self-service minibar and you’ll be able to order fresh food, most likely for a fee.
Given the wretched state of U.S. air travel, it’s quite welcome to see an airline trying to offer both low-cost fares and to comfort and style to domestic fliers. I’ll be interested to see how other airlines react to their unconventional new competitor.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.