Virgin America Launches 'Operation Chihuahua Airlift'

Airline Teams Up With SF Animal Care & Control for a Cross-Country Chihuahua Airlift to Fly Pups in Style to the East Coast - Where New Homes Await

Virgin America's Official Pet Liaison Boo Hosts Red Carpet Send-off for Flights at SFO

'Flights to Bark About' Deal: $5 from Bookings Made Today* Donated to SF Animal Care & Control***

Nov 13, 2013, 13:51 ET from Virgin America

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, San Francisco's hometown airline, is assisting the City of San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) by flying Chihuahua pups from San Francisco to the New York area so they can be adopted quickly into loving homes in time for Thanksgiving.  The overpopulation of Chihuahuas in California continues to force animal shelters on the West Coast to look to shelters on the East Coast for help – where there is demand for the dogs among apartment-dwelling New Yorkers.  As the only San Francisco-based airline, Virgin America first teamed up with the SFACC to fly needy pups to new homes on the East Coast in 2010 to help address the influx of dogs at shelters on the West Coast.  The overpopulation issue has only escalated since then, and as part of its long-standing partnership with and commitment to SF ACC, Virgin America is today undertaking its fifth airlift.  Photos from today's Operation Chihuahua airlift (as well as past airlifts) can be found at:





The airline today launches a special "Flights to Bark About" offer*: for flight bookings made today via* the airline will pledge $5*** to support San Francisco Animal Care and Control and its ongoing Chihuahua rescue and airlift efforts.  In addition, those who book today will receive up to 25 percent off a future flight** (restrictions apply). To get the special offer, members of the public can visit and use the promocode "VXBark" through 11:59pm PT tonight.

"We're so pleased to again help our friends at the San Francisco Animal Care and Control who do such important work to care for animals in need in our community," said John MacLeod, SVP of Planning and Sales at Virgin America. "We're also excited to give flyers a reason to join us in supporting this worthy cause with a great deal, and of course, to roll out the red carpet for the canine guests we have traveling with us today.  They will of course be upgraded en route to Newark to our Main Chihuahua Select class."

Virgin America's "Official Pet Liaison," Boo, will host a special red carpet send-off at the departure gate for his fellow four-legged friends before they begin their journey. The Chihuahuas will be received at EWR by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) – who will place the little dogs in loving adoptive homes.  Virgin America teammates will escort the dogs on flights to the East Coast today and will track their journey with real-time in-flight updates via the airline's fleetwide WiFi service on Instagram and Twitter at and In addition, Virgin America is asking flyers to post photos of their favorite furry travel companions on Twitter or Instagram with the #VXbark hashtag. The cutest travel critter will win a doggie swag bag containing Boo's latest book, "Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog" and Virgin America Swag Shop pet travel favorites. 

"We're thrilled to once again partner with our hometown airline – and so excited that a canine celebrity like Boo is coming out to show support," said Rebecca Katz, Director of the City of San Francisco Animal Care and Control. "We have a major overpopulation of Chihuahuas here in California. Virgin America's continued support in flying these little guys out to the East Coast over the last few years has helped us place them into loving homes that they couldn't have found here. We encourage Bay Area residents to drop–in and check out their local shelters if they're thinking about adopting."

"The ASPCA is dedicated to ending animal homelessness nationwide, and we are thrilled to do our part today helping to find loving homes for this group of animals from San Francisco while meeting the high demand for these dogs in New York," said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center. "These Chihuahuas will need time to settle in and receive medical and behavioral evaluations once they arrive so we encourage interested adopters to visit our website to learn about all the available animals at our shelter who need homes for the holidays."

Since its launch in August 2007, Virgin America has won a list of industry best-in-class awards for its topnotch service and fun, tech-savvy amenities like fleetwide WiFi and power outlets near every seat as well as personal entertainment via the airline's Red in-flight entertainment platform that offers guests their own seatback touch-screen TV, with 25 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, a 4,000 song library and an on-demand menu -- so flyers can order a cocktail or snack from their seatback any time during a flight.  Virgin America also offers a special travel must-have for our four-legged friends traveling onboard: a pets-only water bottle for the dog on the go that can be filled at SFO T2's hydration stations and is available via Virgin America's online Swag Shop.

For photos from today's and past Operation Chihuahua airlifts:

For photos of Virgin America's unique aircraft:

Broadcast quality video b-roll can also be downloaded here.

About the San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control:  The San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control is a taxpayer–funded, open door animal shelter.  SF ACC adopts out a variety of animals and provides housing, care and medical treatment to wild, exotic and domestic stray, lost, abandoned sick, injured and/or surrendered animals. SF ACC aims to rehome or reunite domestic animals with their guardians, and to rehabilitate and release wildlife to their native habitat.  SF ACC responds to animal related emergencies 24/7 including animal abuse and neglect as well as matters of public safety.

About the ASPCA®:
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America, which celebrated its sixth year of operations in August, offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel and has swept the industry awards. Most recently, Virgin America was named "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's 2013 'World's Best' Awards,' an award the carrier has won every year since 2008. In May, Virgin America was voted "Best Airline" by Consumer Reports Magazine. In April, Virgin America topped the 2012 Airline Quality Rating, a joint research project conducted annually by faculty at Wichita State University and Purdue University that analyzes airline data as reported by the DOT. Virgin America was named "Best Domestic Airline" in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 'Readers' Choice' Awards. The airline's base of operations is San Francisco International Airport (SFO)'s sleek and sustainable Terminal 2. Virgin America offers Gogo WiFi on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red platform, and provides power outlets near every seat. Since its launch in 2007, Virgin America has created 2,600 new jobs and now flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Newark, Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA), Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs (seasonal), Philadelphia, Portland, San Jose, Austin and Anchorage (seasonal). For more information:

* Terms and Conditions for VXBark Promotion: This offer ends at 11:59pm PT on November 13, 2013. This offer is valid only for roundtrip  nonstop or connecting travel; offer is not valid for any multi-city itineraries. Guest must apply promo code VXBARK at the time of booking on and roundtrip  travel must commence by December 31, 2013 to be eligible to receive a single-use promo code good for use on a future flight**. In addition, Virgin America will donate $5*** per booking to San Francisco Animal Care and Control for any booking that meets the above requirements. Only bookings that are still active 48 hours after the initial booking will be eligible for the future single-use promo code.  Any booking that was changed or cancelled will not be eligible.  Promo code may be used only towards newly booked travel and may not be applied to prior bookings. Promo code may not be redeemed for cash. Promo code may only be used for bookings made on Offer is not transferable and cannot be combined with any other offers.

**Terms and Conditions for Discount Offer on a Future Flight:
Promo code expires at 11:59pm PT on December 18, 2013. This offer is valid only for nonstop or connecting travel; offer is not valid for any multi-city itineraries. One time use promo code is valid for non-refundable Main Cabin tickets only. Travel must occur between January 8, 2014 and March 6, 2014. Promo code is valid for a 25% discount off the base fare for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays and a 15% discount off the base fare for travel on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Discount is not valid for travel on Sundays. Additional blackout dates are 1/17/14, 1/20/14, 2/14/14, and 2/17/14. Promo code may be used only towards newly booked travel and may not be applied to prior bookings. Promo code discount will be deducted off of base fare. Base fares do not include Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9 each way, September 11th Security Fees of up to $5 each way and a Federal Segment Tax of $3.90 per domestic segment. A segment is a takeoff and landing. For service to/from Mexico, base fares do not include the U.S. Immigration User Fee of $7, the U.S. APHIS fee of $5, the U.S. Customs processing fee of $5.50, a U.S. International Arrival/Departure Tax of $17.20 each way and additional taxes/fees of up to $70, including: Mexico International Departure Tax and Mexico Tourism Tax. Promo code may not be redeemed for cash. Promo code may only be used for bookings made on and is only valid on itineraries of 2 or less guests. Offer is not transferable and cannot be combined with any other offers. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. If travel is changed or cancelled, promo code discount will become invalid. Changes or cancellations can be made for a $100 fee per guest through all channels, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. Tickets purchased through Virgin America's reservation call center will cost an additional $20 per itinerary guest; this amount is non refundable if travel is changed or cancelled. Fares will not be honored retroactively or in exchange for any wholly or partially used ticket.  Fares, routes, fees and schedules are subject to change without notice. For non-refundable Main Cabin, Virgin America will accept one (1) piece of checked baggage up to 50 pounds for $25 for each ticketed. The fee per guest for each additional checked bag up to 50 pounds from the second (2) to the tenth (10) is $25. Additional fees apply to baggage exceeding these weight limitations, and other baggage restrictions may apply.

***Donation to SF ACC: Virgin America will donate $5 per booking (in either cash or in–kind tickets) to San Francisco Animal Care and Control rescue efforts, including general shelter support, food and future airlift flight bookings (up to a total of 7,800 bookings – with total donation amount not to exceed $25,000) for VXBark flights booked on November 13, 2013 by 11:59pm PDT for travel by December 31, 2013.*

SOURCE Virgin America