After ponying up additional cash to upgrade from Economy to what was billed as more comfortable seating with extra leg room and special perks on both Virgin America and American Airlines, the verdict of which one is worth the extra fee was a no brainer.
We flew Virgin America from LAX to New York in Main Cabin Select for roughly the same fare as it cost to fly from Miami to Los Angeles on American in what they call a ‘Choice Plus Bundle’. So here’s the rub:
On Virgin America we got everything we paid for in Main Cabin Select that included free food and drinks ordered at your seat on a touch screen, one checked bag at no extra cost, extra leg room and a little more pitch in reclining, priority boarding and friendly service (actually the crew is nice to everyone on board). What’s more our bags were the first to slide down the carousel at JFK!
Okay, American Airlines Choice Plus was another story and for us not worth the extra money we paid. First of all it states that this package includes a no change fee, but when we asked the representative in Miami about it she said no even though we insisted it was. We didn’t get priority boarding until I actually insisted again, and they let us through. When it came time to order that “premium” drink–of which six were listed on the menu, but only one was available– that was supposed to come with the plan, the flight attendant handed me a tiny bottle of swill for which I begged her pardon and mentioned my ticket included a better beverage. She raised her eyes, sighed and finally gave me the bottle of wine that I was supposed to get. As far as more leg room, an unscientific, unofficial survey of the seats behind us didn’t look like we had that much more space to stretch out, nor did the seats go back very far. Food isn’t included in the package but we did order some which took a very long time to be served as American doesn’t have the touch screen like Virgin for ordering food and drink.
Basically we felt like we wasted about $200 on our American upgrade while about that same amount to move from Economy to Main Cabin Select on Virgin America was well worth it. We also prefer having the screen right in front of us for watching TV or movies, which the American aircraft didn’t have. On both carriers we got earphones.
We were also supposed to get extra miles added to our AAdvantage accounts which we did in the amount 1,171 so no complaints there.
Your LA Travel Diva Examiner upgrades frequently, as often as possible to Business or First, it doesn’t always work out as the best choice financially, but more like the luck of the draw.