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Virgin America First Class LAS-SFO

VX 909
July 29, 2011
We were originally scheduled on the 6:10P departure but wrapped things up early and got the to airport by 2PM. EF showed D1 but pleasant check-in agent advised that there were 3 open F seats. I had two options: (1) stand-by for two seats (we were at the top of the list and it is unlikely that two pax would walk up and buy F seats) or (2) pay $95 for a confirmed F seat. I've heard this "you are the top of the list and it looks good" so many times where looking good didn't translate into a confirmed upgrade, and since we need 2 seats, I paid the $95 PP. Mrs. SFO was very happy.

VX used to operate out of the newer and much nicer D terminal but now uses the crappy old B gates, B-17 specifically. With no AC or US Club anywhere nearby, we parked ourselves in two seats near the boarding podium.

A little later, a loud and obnoxious Non-Rev parks himself and his +1 next to the boarding podium and proceeds to chit-chat loudly with the GA. Mr. Non-Rev then goes to the gate counter to play with the computer, tap-tap-tapping for a few minutes then coming back with two BPs. Yes, s**t happens with the standby list (especially when non-revs get to play on the computer) and I am now very happy that I paid the $95, 'cause I have no doubt that this guy would have taken our seats if we were standby.

Inbound arrives on time, pax deplane and GA goes down the jetway to check if we are good to begin boarding.

Meanwhile, Mr. Non-Rev decides not to wait and pre-boards himself and his +1, scanning his ID and opening the door to board themselves. When we finally did board, I noticed that Mr. Non-Rev and his +1 were sitting in Main Cabin Select exit row seats.

We push back 10 minutes early, endure one more round of the inane VX safety announcement and the stupid "we are in this together" song, and we are off. After take off, FA Cathleen takes our drink order and delivers them together with our previously unannounced but now familiar cheese plate. No offer of any other available snacks.

Multiple refill offers and towards the end of the flight, Cathleen stops by the chit-chat "did you have a good time in LAS? Blah, blah". Like most VX, Cathleen is very friendly and outgoing. But there is just something about the VX employees that I've encountered... perhaps a little too relaxed and informal. And while the First Class seats are very comfortable, First Class service is far from polished... not the service one normally receives in AA or DL First. Add in weaker ground facilities and all in all, I'd rather be flying AA First even on a Mad-Dog.