SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, the airline that has been reinventing flying since its August 2007 launch, today marks its fifth anniversary with festivities that celebrate the airline's continued job growth, network expansion and award-winning service. In honor of the young carrier's milestone, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee proclaims today (August 8, 2012), "Virgin America Day" in the City of San Francisco. As a thank you to its loyal flyers, Virgin America today launches a "Book Like it's Your Birthday" network-wide fare sale for travel between August 21, 2012-November 14, 2012. Main Cabin fares start as low as $55** from San Francisco (SFO) to Las Vegas (LAS) and from $145* from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK) (restrictions apply). Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm CDT on August 9, 2012. Tickets are on sale today via www.virginamerica.com and 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).** For a list of all fares: http://www.virginamerica.com/vx/booking/fare-sale As of today the airline's Elevate® frequent flyers will also be able to take advantage of a new suite of status benefits that promise to make travel even more rewarding – including bonus points earning via social check-in and the chance to earn*** a Virgin Galactic space flight.
"Virgin America launched five years ago with a lofty mission – to make flying good again," said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. "Since that time, our teammates have worked tirelessly to build an airline that people love, as evidenced by a slew of prestigious travel awards and an Elevate loyalty program that now has over 2.4 million members. Our successes in just five short years are a credit to the work of all 2,600 members of our growing team, to our loyal guests who have embraced a better way of flying and to the support we've received from the San Francisco Bay Area community."
"In addition to having built deep roots in this community through its charitable community partnerships, Virgin America has created thousands of jobs and is an anchor tenant at SFO's world-class and sustainable Terminal 2," said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. "Our City is proud that Virgin America calls San Francisco home, and I am pleased to proclaim today 'Virgin America Day' in San Francisco."
This weekend, the airline continues the birthday celebration with sports fans at a special "Virgin America Day at AT&T Park," as the San Francisco Giants host the Colorado Rockies on August 11th. The game will open with the first ceremonial pitch live broadcast from a flight at 35,000 feet. A lucky fan won the chance to join Giants mascot "Lou Seal" and throw the first pitch down the aisle of Virgin America commercial flight 753 as it enters Bay Area air space en route from Seattle. The first pitch will be transmitted live air-to-ground via Gogo® in-flight WiFi to AT&T Park, where more than 40,000 fans will be watching. As a birthday present to its hometown, Virgin America will offer all attendees at AT&T Park this Saturday a two-for-one flight voucher****on the airline that just last month captured Travel + Leisure's World's Best Domestic Airline title for the fifth year in a row.
"I am thrilled that Virgin America decided five years ago to make San Francisco its national corporate headquarters," said Congresswoman Jackie Speier. "It's been a great fit -- San Francisco's creative spirit meets its match. A marriage we hope lasts a lifetime."
Virgin America has much to celebrate; in its first five years of operations, it has expanded to 18 new destinations, created more than 2,600 new jobs, welcomed 19.3 million flyers and swept the major travel industry best-in-class awards, including "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and "Best Domestic Airline" in Conde Nast Traveler's 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Readers' Choice Awards. On the fifth anniversary of its launch of operations, the airline is rolling out a number of enhancements including the launch of a new uniform for its frontline teammates and the introduction of status benefits within its Elevate frequent flyer program.
As of today, Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will begin to enjoy the perks of status, including: priority check-in and boarding; an expanded advance purchase upgrade window for the airline's exclusive First Class; complimentary space-available upgrades to the carrier's premium Main Cabin Select service; and the ultimate flight reward*** – a sub-orbital Virgin Galactic flight for the member who accrues the most status points between today and August 7, 2013. Virgin America was the first U.S. airline to award frequent flyer points for virtual "check-ins" via Topguest, a product of Switchfly, Inc – and the new status levels will take social rewards to the next level. Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will now be able to share their digital status on social networks and earn points for 'checking in'***** at the airline's airport terminals, gates and other locations through applications like Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare. In addition, every day for the next five days, the carrier is giving a social media-savvy flyer the chance to upgrade their status to Elevate Silver – just by virtually checking in.****** For more on Elevate status, visit: www.topguest.com/elevate
In the past year, Virgin America has marked more than a few notable milestones:
- Virgin America implemented eight new interline partnerships and a first codeshare agreement in 2012 – the airline now has 16 interline partners total;
- The airline filed for – and was granted – Department of Transportation permission to serve Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) with a daily nonstop flight from its home base at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)starting August 14, 2012;
- The airline has grown to a 52-aircraft fleet and now meets the size threshold to be classified a "major" carrier by the DOT;
- In March, all three Virgin airlines (Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia) announced full linkage of their respective frequent flyer programs for the first time – allowing each airline's loyalty program members to redeem miles or points when taking flights on any of the airlines across their route networks;
- In April, the carrier launched new service from SFO and Los Angeles (LAX) to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL);
- In June, the airline launched new service from SFO and LAX to Portland International Airport (PDX);
- In early 2012, Virgin America renewed and expanded its existing partnership with the San Francisco Giants as their Official Airline. In addition to the roll out of a new Virgin America Club level at AT&T Park, the airline named and painted a 'bearded' new Airbus A320 aircraft "Fly Bye Baby," in honor of the Giants;
- This month, the airline's more than 2,000 in-flight and airport teammates will debut a new look on flights and at airports across the country – with new Banana Republic-designed uniforms. For more on the uniforms and the Banana Republic travel essentials offered via the airline's Red™ in-flight entertainment platform and at select Banana Republic stores, visit: http://www.virginamerica.com/vx/newuniforms.
Other notable milestones since the airline's launch:
- In January 2011, the carrier ordered 60 Airbus A320 aircraft, including the first order for the new eco-efficient A320neo;
- In June 2011, the airline became the launch customer for the new 15% more fuel efficient CFM LEAP Engine;
- In April 2011, the airline opened its sleek new SFO T2 home, with a tandem flight alongside Virgin Galactic's spaceship;
- In October 2010, the airline reported its first quarterly net profit;
- In September 2010, the carrier launched a multi-year partnership with Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) to raise awareness and funds for cancer research – with Virgin America teammates appearing on SU2C's landmark TV broadcast across networks;
- Virgin America was the first airline to host to offer in-flight WiFi fleetwide as of May 2009;
- Virgin America is the only U.S. domestic airline with standard power outlets at every seat and seat-to-seat text chatting;
- Virgin America is the only U.S. airline to offer touch-screen seatback menus that allows guests to order what they want, when they want it during a flight. The airline's menu was named the "Best Domestic Airline for Food" by Travel + Leisure ;
- Virgin America is the first U.S. airline to offer carbon offsets in-flight. The airline's fleet is up to 25 percent more carbon/fuel efficient than other U.S. fleets.
Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. (IAD with DCA starting August 14th), Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas–Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs, and Portland.
EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled and operated airline and is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.
About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline's base of operations is San Francisco International Airport (SFO)'s sleek new Terminal 2. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat. 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. For more, visit: www.virginamerica.com
*Fare Sale Terms and Conditions: All Main Cabin fares are one-way and require a 10-day advance purchase. Travel must occur between August 21, 2012 and November 14, 2012. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm CDT August 9, 2012. Lowest sale fares are available for travel only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. Flights may not operate daily. Changes or cancellations can be made for a $100 fee per guest through all channels. Changes or cancellations of a booking made with Elevate Points will be subject to a $100 redeposit fee per guest. Guests who no-show without a change or cancellation prior to the scheduled departure time will forfeit the amount of this fare. In addition, any future flights booked in the same reservation will also be canceled and the fare will be forfeited. Tickets purchased from Virgin America through our reservation call center will cost an additional $20 per guest per itinerary. Any added cost associated with purchasing tickets from Virgin America through our reservation call center will be non-refundable. 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. Virgin America will accept up to ten pieces of checked baggage, up to 50 pounds each, per ticketed guest traveling within the U.S. The fee for each piece of checked baggage up to 50 pounds is $25. Additional fees apply to baggage exceeding these weight limitations, and other baggage restrictions may apply.
**Any guest calling within the United States has access to a complimentary telecommunication relay service by dialing 711. For more information, go to: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/telecomm.asp
***Terms and Conditions Virgin Galactic Reward Flight: Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. including D.C., 18 years old or older who are Elevate members. Program ends 8/7/13. For complete Terms and Conditions and complete details, visit galacticcontest.virginamerica.com
****Terms and Conditions SF Giants Two for One Offer: This offer ends at 11:59pm CDT on September 7, 2012. This offer is valid only for nonstop or connecting travel; offer is not valid for any multi-city itineraries. Promo code may only be used for bookings made on virginamerica.com and is only valid on itineraries of 2 guests exactly. One time use promo code is valid for non-refundable Main Cabin tickets only. Travel must occur between August 22, 2012 and November 14, 2012. Blackout dates are August 31, 2012 and September 3, 2012. 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 $3.80 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 $16.70 each way and additional taxes/fees of up to $60, including: Mexico International Departure Tax and Mexico Tourism Tax. Promo code may not be redeemed for cash. 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 up to a $100 fee per guest, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. Tickets purchased through Virgin America's reservation call center will cost an additional $20 per guest per itinerary; 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. Virgin America will accept one (1) piece of checked baggage up to 50 pounds for $25 for each ticketed guest traveling within the U.S. and for free of charge for each ticketed guest traveling to/from Mexico. 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.
*****Topguest Terms and Conditions: This offer is valid until December 31, 2012. To be eligible for this offer you must be both a member of Topguest and Virgin America Elevate rewards programs. No purchase necessary. Employees of Virgin America are not eligible for this promotion. Limited to one 'check-in' per day per guest. Points earned via Topguest will be posted to the guest's account within 48-72 hours of the check-in taking place. Elevate Red members will earn 25 points for each eligible check-in. Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will earn 50 points for each eligible check-in. Any attempt to deceive or perpetrate fraud related to this promotion or the Elevate program will result in the immediate termination, deactivation, and removal of all benefits, rights, and privileges associated with travel on Virgin America, its partners, and programs.
****** Topguest sweeps Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C. 18 AND OLDER WHO DID NOT PURCHASE EQUIPMENT FOR THE PURPOSES OF ENTERING THE CONTEST. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Enter Contest by 8:29 a.m. PT on 8/13/12. For Official Rules, which govern, and complete details, visit http://vgn.am/silver.
SOURCE Virgin America