Virgin America is Open for Business…if the FAA Says So

By | July 19, 2007

Virgin America….the airline that has faced numerous hurdles in its certification due to foreign control concerns…began selling tickets today. Tickets are available for sale at 1-877-FLY-VIRGIN(877-359-8474) and at the Virgin America website. Tickets are on sale from August 8th through February 12th.

From its hub at San Francisco International Airport, Virgin America will inaugurate:

  • Twice daily service to New York-JFK effective August 8th…a third flight on August 19th, and a fourth on September 9.
  • Five times daily service to Los Angeles International Airport effective August 8th
  • Twice daily service to Washington-Dulles effective September 26th
  • Thrice daily service to Las Vegas effective October 10th

They will also offer service from Los Angeles:

  • Twice daily to New York-JFK effective August 29th, with a third added September 16th
  • Twice daily to Washington-Dulles effective October 24th

“Virgin America will offer last-minute Main Cabin fares for business travelers that are up to 60 percent off existing last-minute coach fares and First Class fares up to 50 percent below what most legacy carriers charge for coach. A simplified fare structure promises transparency with one-way fares, and no Saturday night stay requirements.”

  • Fares between San Francisco and both Los Angeles and Las Vegas start at $44* in the Main Cabin and $149 in First Class, each way.
  • For service between Washington, DC and both Los Angeles and San Francisco, fares start from $129 and $389 each way in the Main Cabin and First Class, respectively.
  • For service between New York and both Los Angeles and San Francisco, fares start from $139 and $389 each way in the Main Cabin and First Class, respectively.

Virgin America expects to serve as many as 10 cities within a year of operation and up to 30 cities within five years of service. The airline has previously confirmed service to San Diego which will be announced at a later date. This aggressive expansion plan rival the most closest and most recent startup…Jetblue.

Additional cities under consideration include: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Portland, Ore., Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Jose, Calif., Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

Virgin America offers airplanes that include leather seats, mood-lighting throughout the cabin and the “most advanced personal in-flight entertainment system in the domestic airline market — with on-demand movies and TV, games, music and online chat rooms cabins.” In First Class, massage chairs offer 55 inches of seat pitch and 165-degree recline.

The launch of Virgin America is contingent on final approval and authorization to fly. As they comment on their website

“Virgin America does not currently have authority from the Department of Transportation to operate the services for which your ticket is being issued. You may, upon request, cancel your ticket and obtain a full refund at any time before we start operations. If we have not started operations by the date of your ticketed travel, we will make reasonable efforts to arrange substitute air transportation for you, at a cost of up to 200% of your Virgin America ticket. If we cannot arrange substitute transportation for you, we will refund to you 200% of the price paid for your Virgin America ticket.”

Even if they don’t reach their target date…they’ve promised to buy you a ticket on another carrier or double your money back…anyone want to take the gamble? We will have more on Virgin America as the opportunity presents itself…

For those who prefer travel agents and online consolidators…Virgin America has signed with Galileo, Orbitz Worldwide, and likely more will come.