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I’m a solo traveler who loves being on the go. Globetrotting is my passion, and I couldn’t make it happen without Alaska Airlines or Virgin Atlantic. I’ve had the pleasure of flying with both carriers and always had good experiences. But I must say, they both offer something a bit different. I like to fly with either of these airlines when I’m looking for an affordable deal on airfare.
In this Alaska Airlines vs. Virgin Atlantic guide, I’ll explain the key features of each option and give my opinion on which one I feel is the best. If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned!
My Top Pick Upfront
Between Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, Alaska Airlines is my top choice. They take the top spot because I feel like they offer more. For starters, their rewards program is phenomenal and quite different from most other air carriers. Mileage Plan members receive 30% more value with Alaska Airlines than with competitor airlines.
Furthermore, Alaska Airlines allows Saver Fare passengers to bring a carry-on, which is very rare for most basic economy flights. I really enjoy flying with them because I feel like I get more bang for my buck.
Main Differences between Alaska Airlines vs.Virgin Atlantic
- Alaska Airlines offers reward points based on miles, whereas Virgin Atlantic provides points based on dollars spent.
- Virgin Atlantic offers passengers one free checked bag, whereas Alaska Airlines does not.
- Alaska Airlines offers $59 one-way deals, whereas Virgin Atlantic does not.
Key Features of Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines allows each passenger to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board. The maximum dimensions for carry-on bags are 22″ x 14″ x 9″, and personal items must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you.
If you need to bring more than the standard allowance, you can purchase additional baggage online or at the airport. The fees for additional baggage depend on the destination, weight, and the number of bags.
Checked bags cost $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second when you pay online or at the airport. However, fees are waived for active military personnel and their spouses. It’s also waived for certain Alaska credit card holders and top-tier Mileage plan members.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the most popular loyalty programs in the United States. Members earn miles when they fly with Alaska Airlines, use a credit card associated with the program, or shop with Alaska Airlines partners. Miles can then be redeemed for flights, upgrades, and other travel-related expenses.
One thing I love about Alaska Airlines is that they offer so much more than other airlines. Mileage Plan members earn 30% more than the competition. That’s because Alaska Airlines offers award miles based on how far members fly, not how much they spend. I was stoked when I learned about their savings program, and I’ve been taking advantage of member perks ever since!
Food and Beverage
Alaska Airlines is known for providing high-quality food and beverage service to its passengers. The airline offers a wide variety of food and beverage options, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Alaska Airlines also offers a variety of specialty food items, such as gluten-free and kosher meals.
There is no food service for flights under 350 miles. Other snacks and meals vary depending on the route and fare class. However, First-class passengers can pre-order meals at least two hours before departure.
Alaska Airlines has a variety of fare classes, each with its own set of benefits and restrictions. Knowing which fare class is right for you can make all the difference in getting the most out of your Alaska Airlines experience.
The cheapest fares are found in the Saver Fare class. These tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable, but they offer the lowest prices. If you’re sure of your travel plans, this is a great way to save some money. I like Alaska Airlines Saver Fare so much. In my opinion, they’re top-tier compared to other airlines. Not only are ticket prices cheap, but they have fewer restrictions than the competition’s basic economy classes.
The next step up is the “Value” fare class. These tickets are refundable and changeable, but they come with a higher price tag. If you need the flexibility to change your plans, this is the fare class for you.
The most expensive fare class is “First Class.” These tickets come with all the bells and whistles, including refunds, changeability, and access to Alaska Airlines’ first-class lounges. If money is no object, and you want the best possible Alaska Airlines experience, this is the fare class for you.
Alaska’s lounges are quite nice, so if you’re taking a long flight, the first class price might be worth the extra fare cost. You can also buy lounge access for $60 in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York-JFK.
- $59 Airfare Deals
Alaska Airlines offers $59 one-way airfare deals. I’m always looking for a low-priced plane ride, so I’m glad Alaska offers it. I signed up for their email deals, so the discounts are sent right to my inbox!
- Carry-ons Allowed for Saver Fare Class
Listen, Alaska Airlines gets a huge win in my book with this one! So many airlines restrict baggage to a personal item for passengers flying basic economy, but not Alaska Airlines. Even if you buy a Saver Fare ticket, you’re allowed a carry-on. How awesome is that?
- Paid Checked Luggage
When I’m taking a trip for an extended period of time, I need checked luggage. Therefore, I don’t like that I have to pay for a checked bag with Alaska Airlines. Lots of airlines offer it for free for the first bag. I’m not a service member, nor do I have a credit card with Alaska. But I’m looking forward to increasing my Mileage Plan tiers, so my checked luggage fee gets waived.
Key Features of Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic offers a variety of baggage options to suit every need. Passengers get one free checked bag, unless they’re flying on Economy Light. However, all passengers get a free carry-on bag, within the dimensions of 9 x 14 x 22 inches. All tickets include hand baggage, along with a purse or coat that you might carry. For additional checked bags, there is a fee of $100 or more, depending on fare class.
Flying Club is the name of Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program. Travelers earn points for every dollar they spend on Virgin Atlantic flights, which can be redeemed for free travel or upgrades.
Flying Club members enjoy a variety of benefits, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s Red Carpet Clubs, priority boarding, and free checked bags. Membership is free and easy to sign up for online. Points can be earned not only for Virgin Atlantic flights, but also for purchases with Virgin Atlantic’s partners, including hotels, rental cars, and retailers.
Food and Beverages
Virgin Atlantic’s onboard menu features a wide variety of items to choose from, including both healthy and indulgent options. And, thanks to the airline’s partnership with renowned chef Tyler Florence, you can be sure that everything on the menu is of the highest quality.
All Virgin Atlantic flights offer a complimentary beverage service, which includes soft drinks, juice, coffee, and tea. And, if you’re looking for something a little stronger, you can purchase alcoholic beverages for a reasonable price.
As far as food goes, Virgin Atlantic offers a few different snack options, as well as a full meal service on flights over six hours. The airline’s snack menu features items like pretzels, chips, and cookies, while the meal menu offers a variety of hot entrées and salads. I like that Virgin Atlantic offers a variety of options for snacks. Some airlines provide a couple of options, and that’s it.
- Customer Service
Virgin Atlantic has fantastic customer service. When I flew with them, the friendliness of the staff is one of the things that stood out to me. I prefer to fly with air carriers with good service, and I’ll often spend more money on a plane ticket if it means access to a friendlier staff.
- Nice In-Flight Entertainment
One of the things that I really like about Virgin Atlantic is their collection of entertainment. When I flew with them, there were a couple of new movies that I wanted to see, and they had them. Not only that, but the music selection was vast and included genres like K-pop. I really liked that!
- Flight Prices
In my opinion, Virgin Atlantic isn’t affordable all the time. Every now and again, I’ll notice that they’re slightly more expensive than their competitors. But of course, that all depends on the route. The good news is, they’re always running flight deals, and they have a section on their website dedicated to discounted airfare.
Alternative Airlines That I Like
One of my favorite airlines is Southwest. They’re the best in regard to low airfare prices and baggage. In most cases, their route prices are significantly lower than their competitors. Not only that, but they offer “Wanna Get Away” fares that are very affordable, usually $59 one-way. Plus, all passengers are allowed two free checked bags for free! There aren’t too many airlines offering that kind of deal.
Another low-cost airline that I like a lot is Jet Blue. Jet Blue offers flights to more than 90 destinations across the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America.
Passengers get complimentary in-flight entertainment and free snacks and drinks on all flights. Aspects of Jet Blue that I admire is that they have friendly customer service, and they’re very punctual. I’ve flown with them several times and always had a good experience.
Delta is a great airline. Their customer service is excellent, and they have a good loyalty program. Delta Skymiles is an easy way to earn rewards and save money on travel. I like to use my miles for a variety of travel-related purchases and to book flights with Delta’s partner airlines. In my opinion, Delta is one of the best, well-known airlines. Plus, they fly to more destinations than some of the other air carriers that I’ve mentioned in this article.
Answer: Alaska Airlines flies to many destinations within the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. The airline also flies to several international destinations, such as Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
Answer: Yes, Alaska Airlines does provide in-flight entertainment. You can enjoy a variety of movies and TV shows on your personal device by downloading the Gogo Entertainment app before your flight.
Answer: Yes, as of January 2019, Virgin America became Virgin Atlantic. This change occurred because Virgin Group sold its stake in the airline.
Answer: Yes. In fact, they’re now one airline. Alaska Airlines bought Virgin America in 2016 and the two airlines are now fully integrated. That means that if you have an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account, you can earn and redeem miles on Virgin Atlantic flights. Similarly, if you have a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account, you can earn and redeem miles on Alaska Airlines flights. So whether you’re flying across the pond or across the country, you can do so with just one loyalty program.
My Closing Thoughts
Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with flying with Alaska Airlines or Virgin Atlantic. But my choice is Alaska Airlines. They offer a lot more, and they’re the best carrier to fly for those short, weekend trips. But I must say, if you need to check your luggage, then Virgin Atlantic may be the better option. You’ll have to compare the pros and cons of each airline to make a final decision. I hope this guide helps you. Happy Traveling!
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