With Alaska Airlines having defeated JetBlue in a battle for Virgin America, it’s time for the integration to begin. Most of the nuts and bolts take place behind the scenes, but they’ll give you details along the way about the stuff that matters to you. The big one for now is that the Virgin America brand will be going away, forever dissolved into Alaska Airlines.
A Few Details…
Alaska and Virgin America are actually starting from a pretty good position, since the two are among the few airlines to have good reputations among consumers. But truthfully, we’re not getting a lot of info at this point, which is fine, since it’s early. They’re keeping the programs separate for most of 2017, although you can convert your Elevate points to Alaska Air miles at a rate of 1 to 1.3, Elevate to Alaska. If you don’t convert the points yourself, they’ll do it for you in 2018, although they don’t advertise the conversion rate. Much of the press release is the warm and fuzzy stuff, e.g., mood lighting being introduced to Alaska.
One downside: The really comfy, huge Virgin America first class seats are going away. Of course, Alaska lists the reconfiguration as a benefit, since they’re adding more seats. But more seats means less rooms per seat. Goodbye, big, white chairs. We’ll miss you.
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