Virgin America is ordering some new, larger aircraft; Delta is offering free pajama/lounge suits to some long-haul passengers; United MileagePlus members can shop with miles in a real store; and JetBlue has a new and improved version of its app.
With a fleet that has always relied on Airbus A319s and A320s, Virgin America announced it is moving on up to the next-generation Airbus A321neo. The carrier has initially ordered 10 of the next-generation planes for delivery starting in early 2017. Besides reducing fuel burn by 20 percent compared with the current Virgin fleet, the A321neos will be have a greater passenger capacity thanks to a longer fuselage. The Virgin configuration will hold 185 seats, about 24 percent more than its current A320 models.
Delta has a new amenity for passengers traveling in the Delta One cabin on flights from Los Angeles to Sydney and Shanghai: In-flight sleepwear/loungewear, so you don’t have to get your nice clothes all wrinkled on those ultra-long trips. The unisex cotton loungewear only comes in gray, with a choice of two sizes: small/medium or large/extra large. They’re available now on the LAX-Sydney and LAX-Shanghai flights, and will be introduced in March 2016 on all Delta flights between the U.S. and China, including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Don’t have time for holiday shopping? If you’re a United MileagePlus member, you can shop and pay for your purchases with miles at an actual retail store during this holiday season. United’s new Miles Shop, created by airport restaurant and retail specialist OTG, is in Terminal C at United’s Newark hub. A variety of gifts and electronics are on the shelves, including luggage, headphones, books, travel kits and power adapters, as well as kids’ toys and clothes. Items are prices from 600 to 50,000 miles. If you pay the old-fashioned way (i.e., cash or credit), you’ll earn 5 miles per dollar spent.
JetBlue said that its iPhone and Android apps have been improved: Customers can now use the apps to select and change seat assignments after check-in, buy ‘Even More Space’ seats and other ancillary services, cancel a check-in for rebooking, and use the phone’s camera to input credit card and passport information. JetBlue also released a new app for the iPad, designed for its larger screen. Besides accessing the usual customer service functions, iPad users can also use the new app to browse through destination guides for many of JetBlue’s 93 destinations.
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