01. Introduction: I flew to San Francisco so that I could drive a fun car in Arizona
02. Virgin America A319 first class San Diego to San Francisco
03. American Airlines A321 first class San Francisco to Phoenix
04. Westin Downtown Phoenix
05. 3 awesome reasons why February is the best time to road trip through Arizona
06. Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Airport
07. American Airlines 757-200 first class Phoenix to San Diego
The title of this one sure is a head scratcher isn’t it? Don’t worry. It’s even still a bit confusing to me even though I was there for the entire thing.
By now it should seen quite obvious that a lot of the trips I take have no real purpose, and they generally lean to the pointless side of the spectrum more than anything else. When I try to explain my itineraries to others (especially to those who don’t travel often), I’m not oblivious to the fact that they do sound really stupid sometimes. This one is definitely going to take some explanation, but I think you’re going to get it quickly once I tell you how it all went down.
Having just returned from Beijing, I was looking to do a trip in late February somwhere close to home and easy to manage. I should probably mention that these kinds of trips are getting more and more difficult for me to put together, simply because one of my primary goals is to gather interesting content to post here on the blog. I’ve flown pretty much every domestic US first class product there is, and I’ve been to nearly every airport in this general region. It’s getting harder and harder to take trips featuring products or things that I’ve never reviewed before, but since “easy to manage” was a requirement for this one, I decided to relax a bit and do a fun little road trip out in the Arizona desert. Arizona is amazing in February, so why the heck not?
Coming up with the plan
The first thing I did was to see if Hertz or Avis had any fun rental cars available for that last weekend in February. Hertz came through magnificently with a Porsche 911 for a decent rate, so I locked that bad boy in with a highly satisfying smirk on my face and then set off in search of flights.
At first I was thinking of doing a three-way first class comparison between Virgin America (SAN-SFO), American Airlines (SFO-PHX) and a Big Front Seat on Spirit Airlines (PHX-SAN). Sounds fun, right? That all came to a screeching halt once I realized that Spirit does not fly between Phoenix and San Diego anymore. They used to, but apparently they’ve been pushed out by American and Southwest. Dang it. The Virgin America SFO-SAN thing still sounded very interesting (even though I did it back in 2014), but I was having a hard time accepting the fact that if I wanted to get any “easy to manage” first class segments for this trip report, I was going to be limited to Virgin America and American. Sure, I could’ve flown United or Delta through another hub, but that totally went against the “easy to manage” thing. I’m getting too old to do those stupid eight-segment round trips between San Diego and Phoenix anymore. Those days are long gone.
So…Virgin America and American it would be. Virgin America first class is always more expensive than the others, and I wasn’t quite feeling like spending that much money for both SAN-SFO and SFO-PHX. I limited it to SAN-SFO, and then booked American for the rest. Interestingly enough, American is still flying the 757 between Phoenix and San Diego these days, and it had been along time since I had last flown a large aircraft like that between these two cities so I just had to book it.
Here’s what the full itinerary looked like:
02/23/18 VX1957 A319 first class San Diego to San Francisco
02/23/18 AA1700 A321 first class San Francisco to Phoenix
02/25/18 AA465 757-200 first class Phoenix to San Diego
I guess when it comes right down to it, I probably could’ve just titled this one “Arizona” to make things easy. And as a matter of fact, that’s exactly how I described his trip to friends and family who don’t quite get my fascination for traveling the way I do. But you guys and gals are a special bunch, and now that you know that Virgin America and a fun car played significant parts in this itinerary, don’t you think that I did the right thing by including those little tidbits in the title?
But then my buddy Josh texted me with a good title idea of his own: “Saying goodbye to Virgin America, part II” – which was totally funny because I already said goodbye to Virgin America in August 2016, and I thought for sure that I would never fly them again after that. See? There’s a lot of thought that goes into this travel blogging thing.
Anyway, dig out and dust off your flashiest disco garb, because the Virgin America first class trip report starts very soon. You’ll definitely want to be dressed for the occasion!