The opening screen for Virgin America prompts you to log in to their members-only area, Elevate, but you can continue as a guest if you click the bottom right corner, which takes you to a page that says: Home, Check In, Manage, Book.
You can click on the extended home screen via 3 ellipsis that take you to a secondary menu: Flight Status, Legal, Fees, FAQs, Spotify and Sign In. Even though the app lets you continue as a guest, you will need to create a free membership to use a majority of the app’s features. You can check on the status of an existing flight without signing in if you put day of departure and the airport information. Knowing the flight number is not a requirement. After a few seconds, it will bring up the flight or flights leaving on your requested day, showing departure and arrival information (terminal, gate, time, etc).
The legal tab shows you all the technical information with flying, and the fees tab is rather helpful if you have any questions about additional charges. Your best bet is to visit the FAQ first, as there’s lots of useful information on there about check-in, the onboard experience, seat selection, the Virgin America credit card, Elevate membership, and other features. Clicking FAQ will also bring up 4 easy ways to contact them (call, email, Twitter or live chat). The team is available for a live chat feature from 6 AM to 11 PM, PDT every day of the week including holidays.
The Spotify feature is a cool add on. It clicks out to Spotify (if you have the app on your phone) and you can listen to any number of the Virgin America created playlists. If you would like to book a flight, check in, or manage an existing reservation, you will need an account for any of these features. Singing up only takes seconds and enables you to click around the rest of their app, which is optimized for a faster, cleaner mobile experience.
When booking a flight, it opens up a calendar so you can view the entire month and cost of flights by day. This only takes a few seconds to load. It shows you costs in economy, “Select” (which is like premium economy) and first class. The sub text will let you know if there’s only a few seats left, if the fare is refundable, or if you are able to book using Elevate points.
Once you sign in, you automatically join Elevate, so the homescreen updates to show your Elevate number at all times (convenient, as opposed to shuffling around emails to find it), as well as your membership status and how many points are needed to advance to the next level.
The app could be improved with a weather feature, showing the weather at your destination and departure, as well as more information about route maps or key airport terminals. Overall, it’s a useful app if you frequently fly with Virgin. If you don’t, it may not be worth using, unless you don’t mind signing up for their membership, in which case the app is rather useful.