Virgin America Frequently Asked Questions (Part 1)

Discussion in 'Virgin America | Elevate' started by aviators99, Feb 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. aviators99
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    aviators99 Silver Member

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    Q: Is Virgin America part of Virgin Atlantic?

    A: No. The Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 disallows substantial foreign ownership of domestic US carriers. Specifically, a foreigner (or foreigners) cannot own more than 25% of a domestic US carrier, and cannot control the operations of such an airline. Therefore, the Virgin Group (which owns Virgin Atlantic and much of the Virgin Empire) owns 25% of Virgin America. The rest of the airline is owned by private investors who are US citizens. Since Virgin America was created with the ideology of the Virgin Group, you will notice the same attention to detail, focus on "fun", and the "hipster" target market. They have, of course, licensed the Virgin name and logo.

    Q: Does Virgin America have a frequent flyer program? Can I earn/use my points on/from other carriers?

    A: Virgin America's frequent flyer program (called elevate) allows earning of points and redemption of points on Virgin America flights, Virgin Atlantic flights, V Australia flights, Virgin Blue flights, Hilton Hotel family hotel stays, Morgans Hotel Group hotel stays, Avis car rentals, and Budget car rentals. You can also earn points in the "Red Store", which is a SkyMall website, located at Points for air travel on Virgin America are earned at a rate of 5 points for every dollar spent. NOTE: Only dollars spent on the base fare are used in this calculation (not fees, taxes, nor purchase while in the air).

    Points for air travel on Virgin Atlantic, V Australia and Virgin Blue are earned based on miles flown, and fare class.

    For V Australia: Fare classes V,Q earn 10% of miles flown. K,G,E,L,N,T earn 20% of miles flown. Y,B,H earn 40% of miles flown. W,S,R,O earn 50% of miles flown. I,D earn 60% of miles flown. J,C earn 80% of miles flown.

    For Virgin Blue: Fare classes R,V,X earn 10% of miles flown. A,B,C,E,G,H,J,K,M,P,Q,S,T,U earn 20% of miles flown. N,Y earn 40% of miles flown. W,O earn 50% of miles flown.

    These rates can be seem in tabular form at:**&p_li=&p_topview=1

    For Virgin Atlantic: Fare classes N,V,X,O earn 10% of miles flown. L,M,Q earn 20% of miles flown. Y,B earn 40% of miles flown. W,S,K,H earn 50% of miles flown. Z,R,J,D earn 60% of miles flown.

    Later in 2010, you will be able to redeem points on V Australia and Virgin Blue.

    Points for car rental are earned at the rate of 1 point for every dollar spent.

    Points for Hilton Hotel family hotels are earned at the rate of 1 point per every $2 spent. Points for Morgans Hotel Group stays are earned at the rate of 1,000 points per stay.

    Points are redeemed for air travel based on the available fares on the flight on which you would like to travel. Every seat which is available for purchase is also available for redemption. The current rate of "exchange" between points and dollars depends upon day of travel. For all days other than Friday and Sunday, the rate is around $0.0215 of value per point. For example, if the one-way fare is $62 the number of points required to redeem is 2,884. This exchange rate (which is actually a small fraction under .0215) is consistent across all fares systemwide. For Friday and Sunday, the rate is around $0.0165 of value per point. Once a ticket is booked via redemption, it is like any other ticket in that you can upgrade it, cancel it or change it at the same dollar cost as normal.

    Frequent Flyer points will not expire until 18 months of having no points earned in your account at all. As long as points are earned (using any of the methods mentioned above), your points will exist for an additional 18 months.

    Q: Can I earn Velocity Points (Virgin Blue/V Australia's program) or Flying Club miles (Virgin Atlantic) by flying on Virgin America?

    A: Yes. You can include your Velocity number or Flying Club number in your VX reservation. These points are earned based on miles flown and class of service (notably unlike the way points are normally earned for VX flights). For Main Cabin non-refundable flights, you earn 50% of miles flown. For refundable Main Cabin, and all Main Cabin Select fares, you earn 100% for every mile flown. For First Class, you earn 150% of every mile flown.

    Q: Does Virgin America have a credit card that yields frequent flyer points?

    A: Barclays and Virgin America have announced a credit card with the following features:

    - 1 VX point per dollar spent
    - 3 VX points per dollar spent on VX travel (in addition to the 5 VX points per dollar earned via elevate in general)
    - 2,500 VX points on first purchase
    - 0% APR and 1 point per dollar on first balance transfer (up to 2,500 bonus points)

    Q: Where does Virgin America fly?

    A: Virgin America has two hubs: LAX and SFO. From SFO, they fly to/from SEA, LAX, SAN, LAS, IAD, BOS, FLL, YYZ, MCO, SJD, CUN, DFW, and JFK. From LAX, they fly to SFO, IAD, JFK, BOS, CUN, DFW, and SEA. They also fly JFK to/from LAS. SNA service ended on 5/26/2010. ORD will begin on 5/25/2011.

    Q: How is Virgin America different from the network carriers?

    A: The major differences are: happy employees, a superior in-flight entertainment system (RED), on demand food, in-flight WiFi Internet, international style first class seating, service, and food (even on short haul flights), power outlets at every seat, and mood lighting

    Q: What does the in-flight entertainment system (RED) do?

    A: Here is a list (some features are for future use, and not implemented yet. Those features are so noted):

    - Live television from Dish Network (Free)
    - On demand movies (some movies cost money in coach, but some are free)
    - On demand TV shows (Cost money in coach)
    - Games, including some multi-player (some games cost money in coach, but some are free)
    - Large music playlist (free)
    - Seat-to-seat chat (free)
    - Plane-wide chat room (free)
    - TV chat (free, allows people watching the same channel to chat about the program)
    - Daily newspapers on the screen (not implemented yet)
    - Merchandise shopping
    - Automatically remembering your playlist from your previous flight (not implemented yet)
    - Internet access via seatback (not implemented yet)

    Q: What is on demand food?

    A: Using RED, you can scroll through pictures of the different types of food available for purchase, select what you want, swipe your credit card, and it will be delivered to your seat within 2 minutes. The current coach selection is available at

    Q: Can you get a standby upgrade to first class?

    A: Yes. If there are seats available 6 hours or less before departure, you can before check-in. The charge for upgrading depends on the flight distance: 849 miles or less is $70, 850-1499 miles is $110, and 1500 miles or more is $270. The best deal (longest distance within the cheapest category) is SEA-SFO, which still falls within the $70 upgrade. Some have said that you can do it *during* online check-in (OLCI), but I have found that to never work. In fact, if you get through the first page of OLCI, the online upgrade seems to not work. As long as there is a seat, you can upgrade to it. To do it on the web page, go to the page where you can manage the reservation. There will be a checkbox that will allow you to check-in. Do not check it (yet), but note that it is there. If it is not there, you are not within the 6 hours (according to Virgin America's clock). Instead of checking that, press the button that says "change seats". When you mouse over one of the first class seats, it should tell you how much the upgrade will cost, and it should be the price above, instead of the fare difference. Go ahead and select the seat and enter payment information. After you are all done and your credit card has been processed, you can check-in.

    Q: Does Virgin America have in-flight Internet?

    A: Virgin America has had in-flight WiFi Internet since 11/22/2008. This means that you can use your laptop on the aircraft to surf the Internet, check your e-mail, use instant messenger, etc. You can even access your corporate VPN. Virgin America's in-flight Internet uses the AirCell technology, which is ground-based, and the coverage map is here. The cost is currently around $10 for short haul and $13 for long haul. If you are using a PDA, the cost is only around $8. If you are on a red-eye, it is around $8. If your flight is less than 1.5 hours, it is around $5. As of 5/18/2009, all flights are WiFi-Equipped. As of 5/21/2009, all aircraft are WiFi equipped, making Virgin America the first US airline to have WiFi fleet-wide.

    Q: What's with the mood lighting?

    A: When you board the plane, you will immediately notice the purple/pinkish glow from the LED mood lighting. Apparently, some psychologist advised the airline on the colors that will soothe people during different phases of the flight.

    Q: What TV channels can you watch on Red?


    * - Indicates that this channel is not live. It is cached on the aircraft server.

    All channels are east coast feeds, where applicable.
    Bluto, gleff, Lyssa and 6 others like this.
  2. nermaljcat
    Original Member

    nermaljcat Active Member

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    Are you able to make the FAQs sticky?
  3. nermaljcat
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    nermaljcat Active Member

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    Thanks :D
  4. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    They just launched a new online shopping portal called the Fly Store.
    Basically like most other airline shopping portals although the points per $1 seem weak so far.

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