Airlines With Best First Class Domestic
Two Candidates for Best Domestic First Class Airline
Gone are the days when domestic first class air travel meant glamour. While international first class cabins have become astonishingly rich in amenities and hi-tech comforts, domestic first class today rarely means more than priority boarding, a wider seat, and better (or some) food, wine and service. For a long trip though, it still does make an enormous difference to both your overall comfort on the journey and your resulting mood on arrival.
After extensive research of both the personal and internet varieties, my conclusion is there really are only two airlines with domestic first class service worth writing about. The others are fine as far as they go — wider seats, early boarding, more service and, sometimes, a meal or a drink in glass instead of plastic. But First Class on Virgin America and on United (IF you’re on one of United’s newly refurbished planes, like the ones they’re using on their premium cross-country routes from California (SFO or LAX) to New York’s JFK) can be a luxurious and satisfying experience in the air.
Virgin America’s First Class is probably the best domestic First Class experience available today. The gorgeous design is the first thing to make a positive impression, with white leather seats and red or purple accent lighting creating a modern and different ambience than is usual on an airplane. The wide, comfortable seats have a built-in massage option and there is so much leg room that your neighbor can get past you with no disturbance. (That does, however, make for my one complaint: There is nowhere to put your things. On take-off and landing, the flight attendants must put all personal belongings, including briefcases and handbags, in an overhead bin, which is rather inconvenient.) Virgin’s own Red™ in-flight entertainment platform makes keeping oneself entertained with their extensive library of movies, television, and music, easy and fun. Their friendly service and fairly good food and wine offerings make the trip fly by.
The newly refurbished United planes have replaced cloth seats in First Class with leather and wonderfully comfortable, fully reclining, lie-flat seats. With plenty of personal storage space easily available, they have Virgin America beat on that item. So, I’d put United in as a good choice for domestic First Class travel.
Otherwise, save your miles or at least know you’re just getting what Coach used to be twenty years ago, plus a few extra inches.