Virgin America Flights Will Get Alaska Flight Numbers As Of April 25, 2018

Filed Under: Alaska, Virgin America

Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America closed last December, though for now the airlines are still operating separately. While both airlines were strong on the west coast prior to the merger, that’s where their similarities end — the airlines have different fleets, different onboard products, different frequent flyer programs, etc.

As you might expect, aligning the experience between the two airlines is a huge project. The Virgin America brand is expected to be retired in 2019. While Alaska plans on integrating some of Virgin America’s “hip” touches into the new airline, for the most part it’s going to be business as usual for Alaska — Virgin America Elevate is being retired, the combined airline won’t offer seatback entertainment, elite members will receive complimentary upgrades, Virgin America’s super spacious first class seats will be eliminated, etc.


Virgin America first class

One step towards aligning the two airlines is that eventually both airlines will use the Alaska “code” for their flights, and it looks like we now have more info of when that will be. As of April 25, 2018, Virgin America flight numbers will be discontinued. That means for flights as of that date, Virgin America flights will have Alaska flight numbers, and tickets will no longer be bookable through Virgin America’s website.

For example, here are flights between Los Angeles and New York on April 24:

Meanwhile here are flights between Los Angeles and New York on April 25:

There are a few potential implications here:

  • Presently there are a lot of complications associated with the airlines using separate reservations systems (I experienced this recently when trying to upgrade on Virgin America as an Alaska elite member), and a lot of those issues should be solved when Virgin America flights have Alaska flight numbers and also use their reservations system
  • For any Alaska Airlines and Virgin America partner airlines, the new flight numbers will potentially have implications; this means it should be possible to redeem British Airways Avios for travel on Virgin America flights as of April 25, since they’ll have Alaska flight numbers, for example
  • Potentially this also means that it will be possible to upgrade on Virgin America flights using Alaska upgrade certificates, and maybe we’ll even see the introduction of complimentary upgrades; as of now I don’t see any “confirmable” upgrades available on flights operated by Virgin America, but the functionality is there


Virgin America economy class

So as much as many people are probably sad to see the Virgin America brand disappearing, this is great news in terms of a streamlined booking process between the two airlines, and is the next step towards the two airlines being fully integrated

(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)

Comments
  1. Since Alaska elite members are currently eligible for complementary first-class upgrades on Alaska-operated flights but not on Virgin-operated flights, I try to select only Alaska-operated ones.

    While it’ll certainly be smoother operationally to combine the flight numbering, unless that upgrade policy changes, it’ll make it more difficult to select the flights where you have a shot at an upgrade.

  2. It’s been semi known for a while. If you’ve been searching on VX’s website for the past few months it has posted the message of how they’re “finalizing their scheduling with AS” past April. The latest revelation was just an official confirmation instead of just inferred knowledge.

  3. @Andy : depends on your routing too. Would you purposely pick LAS-SEA-JFK over the LAS-JFK nonstop just for a chance of upgrade ?

  4. @henry LAX – Fair enough, there are certainly cases where other factors are more important than upgrade eligibility.

    My point was only a heads-up that it’s slightly more opaque to make that determination: previously the Alaska/Virgin logos displayed next to each flight in the search results; now you have to drill into the flight details to determine whether the aircraft is Boeing or Airbus.

  5. Does it mean we could finally utilize Virgin America flights with Alaska MileagePlan Partner award?
    Like LAX-JFK on VA then JFK-KEF on Iceland on the same award?

  6. The vx website marks April 24 as the last day you can book directly with virinamerica.com. They direct you to AS website for travel beyond that.

  7. My dream was to one day fly Virgin! Though I don’t have much flexibility to fly transcontinental (I live In Orlando) in the next few years. Oh well, looks like I’ll have to buy an expensive international ticket if I want to fly Virgin.

  8. To me the biggest problem with AS is their award system. If you and someone else both want to fly in a premium cabin on AS or any of their partners, they only allow one premium award seat at the advertised award chart level. They immediately raise the award rate to 120K+ RT pp.
    If you book one flight at the advertised at 50K (65 for AA) the second will cost 120K+, for a total of 170K points for two people RT. Minimum.

  9. What a shame to lose the spacious first class space. Foot rests and mega-decline as well. Alaska buys an airline that is a gem – loved by its loyal flyers – and then dumbs it down. No seat-back entertainment? That’s back to the dark ages. I hope they offer a better first class product for trans-continental flights. They won’t be able to compete with the terrific seating and service on United and Delta (I don’t fly American but I assume they have the same upgraded product on coast-to-coast.

  10. So this is the last flight then? Or like, day of last flights? Or does a “final flight” only become official when the operating certificates are combined? I wanted to book the last Virgin flight but idk if this is it or if they’ll hold a celebratory one that’s going to be the legit last one . . .

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