Browsing Tag: Virgin America

The special More to Love livery at SFO - Photo: Alaska Airlines

The special More to Love livery at SFO – Photo: Alaska Airlines

We are a go! The merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is official. To help celebrate, and welcome new members to the family, Alaska created a special “More to Love” livery on one of their Boeing 737-900ERs. What better way to bring two airlines together?

The painted engine on the special liveried 737 - Photo: Alaska Airlines

The painted engine on the special liveried 737 – Photo: Alaska Airlines

It is not a big surprise that the merger finalized, but the journey wasn’t exactly easy. Although many questions still remain, when things are said and done, the new combined airline will have about 1,200 daily departures to 118 destinations, with hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon. They will also have a fleet of about 286 aircraft — the future of the Airbus fleet has not yet been finalized.

Rumor has it Virgin America is looking to sell - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Rumor has it Virgin America is looking to sell – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Airlines buying airlines. Mergers. These are the topics that rumors were made for. As I start hearing more rumors about the sale of Virgin America, I wanted to take a closer look at who might buy them — and who wouldn’t. Personally, would I buy them? No. I don’t have the money. If I did, it would be nice, though. A privately-held airline. Immune from Wall-Street capacity discipline bludgeons… heaven!

So now that we know I cannot buy Virgin American… who might?

An amazing view of Kodiak Island, on the south coast of Alaska.

This is the reason that most of us fly, being able to look down at the earth below us.

Flying around the U.S. is something that so many people do on a regular basis.  The process used to be much more stressful. Having to track down a travel agent or even buying your ticket at the counter, hoping that there was a seat available. Today, we are able to book our tickets online, months in advance and can have increased confidence that we have a seat on the plane.  But even in today’s hi-tech aviation business, there are still times that almost make it feel low-tech and high-stress. I experienced one recently on a flight to Las Vegas.  That weekend in Vegas may have been fun, but for this AvGeek it was extremely stressful and I am not even sure if it was worth it.

There are many people who have airline benefits and have the ability to fly for free around the world.  I have flown on these “buddy passes” before and previously, and it was not that bad of an experience.  However, this trip to Vegas has seriously made me reconsider ever using one again.

6,000 miles over 4 days with 5 airlines. Heck yes! Photo:

Airline Sampler, heck yes – Image: Great Circle Mapper

“You’re crazy!” That’s the most common reaction I get from non-AvGeeks after describing in detail one of my typical “plane crazy” trips. Unlike a normal person, my travel tends to focus not on the destination, but the journey. That is, the airlines, airplanes, airports, and last but most certainly not least: hap-hazard routing in an effort to add the most diversity to my route map. I just completed one such trip, which I affectionately referred to as my #AirlineSampler.

Planning for this 6k (5,966) mile trek began when I learned United would briefly return a 787 to domestic service. What began as a trip to fly on my first 787 quickly escalated into a cobweb of lines I’d lay across the Great American West (for Missourians, everything west of the arch is west). The trip ended in just under four days, having flown with five airlines and visiting eight airports along the way. Better yet, these would be my very first trips with three of the airlines.

United Airlines First 787 at Paine Field in Everett. Phone: Mal Muir - Airlinereporter.com

A United Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter

The experiences I had over this long weekend were both incredible and eye-opening. I want to have enough “runway” as it were to discuss my thoughts on each of the airlines, so we’ll spread these out across a number of posts. At this point, it’s important to note these reviews will be from the perspective of a frequent flier who purposefully chooses Southwest over the other guys most times. I’ve written extensively about my love for Southwest so, for the most part, I’ll leave them out of this series which was focused solely on getting out and exploring the what airline diversity remains in the US. For continuity, I’ll note where I used Southwest for re-positioning and leave it at that.