Huge Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger News

Alaska Airlines just announced their vision and plans for the future of the airline after its merger with Virgin America in their latest blog post. Here are some of the Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger changes coming soon.

The words they used to describe the vision for Alaska Airlines is “fresh” and “modern”, which I’d say is about all Alaska Airlines has been needing for a while, and something I was hoping they would learn from Virgin America and implement soon after the merger. Let’s hit some of the major points, and in my opinion, all of them are a move in the right direction!

First Class

Boom – this is where Alaska has suffered so much over the past … forever. Virgin’s service was exclusive, elite, comfortable, and distinct. It looks like Alaska got it right.

Alaska's new leg room

Alaska’s new leg room, from Alaska Airlines

Leg room? Check. Comfy seats? Check. Style? Check. And… do you see it? Do you see it?

Alaska New First Class

Alaska’s new Bulkhead, from Alaska Airlines

THE CARPET BULKHEAD IS GONE. HOORAY!!!!! If you’ve ever seen the bulkheads on Alaska Airlines, you’ll know those carpets were dirty and worn over the years. We’re just putting it out there, but if you wanna send one our way after it’s been dismantled and removed from them plane, we’ll happily frame it and mount it on our wall as a piece of memorabilia!

I’m glad to see a fresh and clean new look. The seat pitch is going up to a respectable 41 inches, which is awesome! The worst is when someone is reclined and you can’t get out, so this should help to mitigate that.

Hip and Cool Vibe

Virgin plays music at the gates, their employees are dressed stylishly, and the airplanes exuded a cool, hip vibe. Check, check and check! Music is gonna be piped through the planes and the waiting areas, new uniforms are coming for everyone from ground staff to flight attendants in 2019, and the new mood lighting is staying, just moving from purple to blue.

Alaska's new mood lighting

Alaska’s new mood lighting, from Alaska Airlines

Wi-Fi

Everyone hates Wi-Fi on planes. It’s slow, dreadful, and sometimes unusable. Since Alaska is all about bringing your own devices onboard to enjoy entertainment, they’re gonna have to step up their game. The plan is to have satellite enabled planes by 2019, first the Boeing planes in 2018 and then Airbus in 2019. Now you can bring your own devices on with ease!

Alaska's new seat backs

Alaska’s new seat backs, from Alaska Airlines

Upgrades

Alaska’s upgrade policy has been more than generous to us. We almost always get upgraded to first class, and if we want, then we’ve got upgrade certificates to secure our space up front. In late 2018, they will start rolling out grades to the Airbus aircraft (read, ex-Virgin planes) allowing more access to the comfy seats. This is something Virgin people should be REJOICING about, considering their upgrades have all been paid up to this point.

Free movies and chat

Alaska has decided to roll out free entertainment on your own devices as a permanent feature starting immediately. If you don’t have your own device, you can still rent one on the plane. The “Red” system from Virgin will be free as of August 2017, a huge step in the right direction.

Alaska's overhead bin space

Alaska’s overhead bin space, from Alaska Airlines

New Lounges

The Alaska lounges have been in dire need of an upgrade for a very, very long time. By mid 2019, the lounges in Seattle, Portland, and LA will all be revamped, and the plan is to roll out lounges in SFO and JFK to compliment the ex-Virgin hubs. For one, I’d love to see showers, more bathroom space, perhaps some decent food options, and above all, lots of seating.

We can’t WAIT for these changes

Alaska is our hometown airline, and they always will be (sorry Delta). They know how to take care of their customers both in the air and on the ground. These changes represent the company moving forward in a direction that I can absolutely 100% get behind. I know that some Virgin people are going to be sad to see their favorite airline go, but I have a feeling that it won’t be that big of a change once these go into place in a little under 18 months.

Are you a Virgin American fan? Alaska fan? What are your thoughts on the change?

Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

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2 Comments

  1. As of this year, I am a refugee to the Alaska/Virgin partnership, having divorced United Airlines last year. I do a fair amount of flying, maybe 50,000 miles per year. Is it better for me to try and fly on Alaska flights or virgin flights in the meantime? I’m afraid my miles will get divided between the two airlines and I wind up without status on either.

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    • I’d stick with Alaska. Everything is moving that way anyway, and you’ll earn full mileage with Alaska on Virgin flights. Congrats on divorcing United. I’ll bet that was an abusive relationship 🙁 Do you have status with United? See if you can get Alaska to status match you and start earning bonus miles right away!

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