The closest I’ll ever get to flying first class: Virgin America Main Cabin Select & Frontier Stretch

Figuratively and literally, this may be the closest I ever get to flying in first class:


That’s right, just beyond that hot-pink tint, first-class passengers are nestling into their leather recliner seats.

Though I didn’t pay for it, for some reason I got assigned a Main Cabin Extra seat on a recent SF-LA flight on Virgin America, meaning I was still in economy but had a little extra leg room.


I don’t see myself ever purchasing a first class ticket, with miles or cash.

Wait, why?

Maybe once I get old or if I tried it I’d change my mind, but I love flying, and sitting in coach takes nothing away from that.

Some hardcore travel hackers require first or business class seats.

There’s even a travel site called No Mas Coach.

Business and first is where you get the biggest bang for your mile:

You might hear about people getting a value of 5 cents per mile for a business class ticket, as opposed to 1.2 cents per mile for a coach ticket.

For example:

A business class award flight might cost 70k miles for a flight that would cost $3,000 in cash: 4.2 cents per mile.

A coach award flight on the same plane might cost 20k miles for a flight that would cost $300 in cash: 1.5 cents per mile.

How could you possibly fly coach considering those numbers?

Maybe one day I’ll get upgraded for free, like I did by using Frontier Elite status to get poor man’s first class (seats with extra leg room) for a year:


Don’t sit in row 1 on Frontier flights. Rows 2 and 3 have more leg room.

I don’t blame people who like flying the upper classes.

I might do it too if I somehow found myself swimming in more miles than I could spend.

Devil’s advocate:

Yeah but that’s the whole point of travel hacking — you get to experience things you would otherwise never be able to experience, like airport lounges, fancy hotels and first-class flights.

That’s fair! Free champagne, TV dinners and reclining seats sound incredible.

You just don’t get it. It’s better than that.

You might be right. I speak of that which I do not know.

If you get to your destination well-rested and relaxed, you’ll be able to experience it better. It will make your travels more meaningful. Coach gives you colds.

Hmm maybe you’re right.

But what about the whole “the tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory” thing?

Try swapping out battle for flight, and victory for arrival.

Life may be about the journey not the destination, but for me, when it comes to flying, that’s not the case: the flying is just a small part of the journey.

Here is a review of my first ever Virgin America flight, and here are some more photos from my fancy Main Cabin Select flight:







*Update: Well, it turns out business and “first” class flights were in my cards. I got a free upgrade to first on Alaska Airlines, so here’s my review of that.

3 thoughts on “The closest I’ll ever get to flying first class: Virgin America Main Cabin Select & Frontier Stretch

  1. Pingback: I finally pounced on an error fare…but why is still available? | easyjourneys

  2. Pingback: I finally pounced on an error fare…but why is it still available? | easyjourneys

  3. Pingback: Review: Country boy walks into his first business class flight — Aeromexico SF to Huatulco, Mexico | easyjourneys

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