Patrick McKendry flies aboard Virgin America's flight 491, from Las Vegas to LAX.

The Plane:


Class: Economy. There was a Business Class service available.

Check-in experience: Brilliant. I was at Las Vegas airport early because I had a tight connection at LAX for my flight to Auckland, and the check-in staff couldn't have been nicer. The woman behind the counter apologised for my bag not being checked all the way through, but put a priority tag on it and put me in a seat close to the front of the plane so I could get off quicker. She gave clear directions to the Air New Zealand desk at LAX - check-in there was due to close 20 minutes after my arrival.


Flight: Just under an hour.

On time: Yes, thankfully.

Seat: 6C aisle, close to front - as mentioned above.

Fellow passengers: Business people, mostly. The flight left at 5.35pm on a Thursday, and those waiting at the gate beforehand were all reasonably well-dressed and concerned with their phones or laptops. Those who came off the inbound flight from LAX appeared more in the mood for a party.

Entertainment: Individual television screens; many appeared to be playing CNN news of Trump's election.

Service: Very good, and with some humour. Once we were seated, the pilot - who possessed a deep movie star voice - said he had some brief paperwork to attend to but suggested it could provide the time to "go through your phones and delete all the Vegas photos you might not want to keep".

Food and drink: Complimentary beer and wine service, which surprised me given the short nature of the flight. After five nights in Las Vegas, your humble correspondent politely asked for a bottle of water.

Toilets: Perfectly acceptable at gate - didn't use on flight.

Luggage: A minor delay for my bag at LAX, but nothing to worry about. I made it to the Air NZ queue with plenty of time to spare; in fact they were seriously understaffed and there was a long wait to check-in. (And after all that, we spent an hour on the tarmac while an unwell passenger was taken off the plane in a wheelchair.)

Airport experience: Las Vegas appeared to be a relatively modern aiport with the usual conveniences. The LAX terminal upgrade was a welcome sight.

Would I fly again? Definitely. My previous internal flight experiences in the United States have been on United Airlines and they were pretty ordinary.