After a wonderful week exploring La La Land, it was time for some serious R&R at a long-time bucket list destination of mine: Hawaii. This is my review of the flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
Route: Los Angeles International (LAX) to Honolulu International (HNL)
Flying Time: 5 hours and 50 minutes
Airline: Virgin America
Flight No: VX 1057
Plane Type: Airbus A320 (twin-jet)
Cabin Type: First Class
When I arrived at LAX, I was actually booked to fly coach. Unlike pretty much the rest of the world, the USA have a great little system whereby the airlines automatically upgrade passengers if there are spare seats available in first. It was actually a fluke that led me to landing a First Class upgrade. As I wondered to my departure gate, the message came over the tannoy that the first five passengers to go up to the desk at the gate would receive a bump up to First Class. I glanced to my right to see that the lady speaking over the tannoy was standing behind the desk right next to me. I simply shuffled my feet into her direction and boom – I was front of the queue with a line of people dashing up behind me!
As such, unfortunately I didn’t get to experience the Virgin America lounge at LAX on this occasion, as we were literally boarding the plane a few minutes after I’d received my new boarding pass.
I had barely even sat down before I found myself with a glass of champagne in hand. While the other passengers were still boarding, oggling at us thirstily as they made their way through to Economy, I managed to get in two glasses of champagne and a glass of still water before the airplane doors were locked, glasses cleared away, and we were taxiing for take-off.
Seat & Cabin
The 55″ white leather seat felt like the kind of luxurious armchair you would want in your living room at home. The leg room was so spacious that even my 5ft 9″ frame, with legs and toes fully outstretched, couldn’t reach to – let alone under – the seat in front. As such, the recliner on the seat was able to tilt back much further back than any non-flatbeds I had tried before. With a great addition of a fully adjustable leg and foot rest, it almost feels like I was lying flat – albeit on the diagonal – as my entire body was fully supported by the recliner.
The fluffy pillow and soft cuddly purple blanket were also probably the nicest I have ever been provided, so I was really able to snuggle up and get comfy once the plane was at cruising altitude.
The thing that I really love most about Virgin America planes (and many Virgin planes in general), is the atmospheric lighting, and the attention to detail in the furnishings and fittings. The entire cabin looks modern and sleek, and the purple, blue and pink lighting changes are all part of the experience, promoting a great energy among the passengers including myself.
The fun and happiness I find in Virgin America’s style and colour themes is perfectly encapsulated by their safety briefing video. Delivered in a musical format like an episode of Glee, the minimalistic, contemporary and stylish video matches the interior of the plane down to a tee. Whether you enjoy the video or not, the music is extremely catchy and quickly gets stuck in your head – a very clever tactic by Virgin America to ensure you know their safety procedures!
Check out the video below.
Amenities & Entertainment
I thought the hot-pink in-flight headphones were another fun touch by the airline.
The sturdy seat pockets were well designed with a pouch for the in-flight magazines, another for your headphones, a third for two complementary bottles of water, and even a little slot for your passport and boarding pass or for your phone.
The in-flight entertainment, “Red”, was delivered through a large touchscreen display and featured a great range of music, television shows, movies and games to keep me entertained for the duration of the flight.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any notes of my meals during this flight – and my memory eludes me if I’m completely honest – so I won’t be reviewing the in-flight dining on this one.
On domestic flights like this, in my experience, you would normally have a couple of rows of Business Class preceding the main Economy class cabin. However, Virgin America have made a bold statement in skipping Business Class and calling their premium front row seats First Class. Whilst, of course, the premium seats on a domestic flight are nothing compared to Business or First Class cabins on International Long-Haul flights, I do actually see how Virgin America can justify calling their premium seating First Class. The over-sized seats with clever recliners that support your full body, the atmospheric mood lighting and premium service do all seem a tier above the standard Business Class seating on other domestic carriers.
I would definitely recommend Virgin America and their First Class cabin for a really enjoyable and relaxing flight, and I will most certainly be opting to fly with them over many other carriers in future myself! Check out the cabin and plane photos below.
Images Below Courtesy of VirginAmerica.com