Merger hassles between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America continue, but one more item has been struck from the list. According to The Points Guy, Alaska has already started providing complimentary Main Cabin Select seat assignments to their MVP members when they travel on Virgin America. Apparently it was a manual, by-request process for a couple of weeks. The live, do-it-yourself option was reported to be available beginning today.
Details weren’t specific, but I suspect it’s likely that only some fares are eligible for the free upgrade. Alaska has an upgrade policy for its Premium Economy that provides instant upgrades on all fares for MVP Gold 75K and to a subset of fares if you’re just MVP Gold or MVP. Even Virgin’s own Elevate members don’t get upgrades to Main Cabin Select more than 24 hours in advance. I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.
Either way this is significant because Virgin America has a pretty spacious premium economy option on their domestic flights. Seat pitch is a roomy 37 inches.
Virgin America still doesn’t provide complimentary upgrades to first class at any time. The best they offer is an advance purchase window close to departure, and that will roll out to Alaska elites at an undetermined future date. I’m really looking forward to seeing this change for the better once the fleets are more fully integrated.
Alaska’s own Premium Economy isn’t bad, either. You can already get 35 inches of legroom plus complimentary alcoholic beverages and a snack box. (Though the snack box has been missing on some of my recent flights.) The main difference is the absence of a leg rest. Alaska also does not have seat-back entertainment–which is actually a decision I support–but does have complimentary movies and television shows you can stream directly to your personal device.