Virgin America vs. United Economy Plus

virgin america vs united

I am headed out to San Francisco the first week of November for my new job. Since I am a Premier Executive on United, I automatically get an Economy Plus upgrade and 9,500 frequent flyer miles.

But with the new Virgin America flights from IAD to SFO, I am willing to experiment. But only to a point. My boss wants me to be productive for the five hour flight over and the Betrothed Butterbean wants me to be productive when I get back Saturday morning so I have two deal-breakers to a switch:

  • I need to work the whole flight to SF, and this means using a laptop. On UA’s Economy Plus seat, I can get my T60 open and have room to type in a semi-comfortable fashion. I also often can get exit rows or first rows due to status.
  • I take red eyes back to IAD and I know I can usually sleep a few hours in a UA EP seat at the window. The recline pitch is just enough and the flexible headrests keep me from neck aches.

Now I don’t care for the inflight entertainment, work and sleep are higher priorities, and my laptop batteries will last a whole flight, so the Virgin America inflight games, electrical plugs, and even snacks on call are not decision points.

So that makes me ask those who have flown Virgin America:

  1. Can you use a laptop in a VA main cabin seat?
  2. Does the VA seat experience allow for decent shut-eye?
  3. And is the $25 extra for an exit row or first isle seat worth it?

Bonus if you can compare your Virgin America experience with United’s Economy Plus.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Married, mortgaged, and soon to be a father, Wayan Vota is in the fast lane to mid-life respectability – until the day his brood finds his intimate journal of global traveling and curses him with the ever-eternal reply “I’m gonna be just like you, Dad!”

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