SAN FRANCISCO,April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, the airline on a mission to reinvent domestic travel, today opens its modern and stylish new doors to its first commercial guests at San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) Terminal 2. As the only airline headquartered in California, Virgin America is an anchor tenant at SFO's new T2, which officially opens for commercial flight service today. Launched in August 2007 as a new low-fare domestic airline, Virgin America's decision to headquarter in the Bay Area has helped make SFO one of the nation's few growing airports. Virgin America occupies seven gates at the new T2; American Airlines occupies six; and there is one common-use gate. Virgin America now offers 120 flights a day across its growing network, and as of today, operates 36 daily departures from SFO's T2. Virgin America will welcome 8,664 flyers today at T2. With topnotch service, custom-designed cabins and high-tech amenities, Virgin America has been winning over consumers and travel awards since its 2007 launch – including the "Best Domestic Airline" title in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards for the past three years. In that same time period, Virgin America has created 2000 jobs, welcomed more than 11 million guests and signed up 1.7 million Elevate frequent flyers. The airline continues to fuel expansion, with its employee base projected to grow by 500 additional teammates a year and its fleet tripling in size by 2019.
"Since our launch, we've lowered fares, created thousands of new jobs and welcomed millions of flyers. Even with all that growth, our focus remains fixed on our core mission: to change the status quo of flying with the best in design, service, entertainment, food and technology," said David Cush, President and Chief Executive Officer of Virgin America. "We're delighted to welcome our first commercial travelers to a new home that similarly reinvents the airport experience. T2 is unlike any other airport in the U.S. and we couldn't be more proud to call it home."
To welcome its first guests this morning, Virgin America teamed up with T2 vendors Kara's Cupcakes and Napa Farms to offer its first T2 flyers cupcakes and champagne at check-in. Known for its active social media following, Virgin America has also teamed up with Context Optional, a social marketing technology company, to launch a "Terminal 2 Takeover" leaderboard that displays Facebook and Foursquare mobile location check-ins at T2. In an effort to make the travel experience more social, travelers who virtually "check-in" to a Virgin America venue in T2 using Foursquare or Facebook Places can compete to earn status icons from "Ground Crew" to "Navigator" to "Captain." For more, visit the airline's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/virginamerica. For T2 photos, including guests at Virgin America's new ticket counters and gates: http://www.virginamerica.com/vx/sfo-t2
With over a half century of history, the 640,000-square foot T2 has been completely reinvented for the modern traveler by architecture and interior firm Gensler and aims to be the first LEED® Gold-certified airport terminal in the U.S. Known for its inventive design and sustainable best practices, Virgin America informed the T2 design process from its earliest stages. Much like the airline that will call it home, the new T2 elevates the travel experience by offering the best in design, technology, food and sustainable practices. T2 offers features that mirror Virgin America's own unique flight service, including power outlets and WiFi throughout, a "Recompose" lounge that acts as a soothing oasis for flyers and the airline's distinctive cabin "moodlighting" featured at its T2 ticket counters and gates. In addition, T2 offers amenities that improve the efficiency of the travel process – including a state-of-the-art baggage screening system and a large concourse checkpoint, in order to help speed a traveler's journey through to their gate.
Notable design features and amenities within T2:
Similar to Virgin America's lighting, seating and design, T2's "Recompose" area acts as a stress-reducing oasis post-security.
Virgin America's T2 gates are designed as open, beautiful living room-like spaces in view of dining areas.
Virgin America T2 spaces feature mood-lit ticket counters and gates that model the airline's distinctive cabin moodlighting.
Virgin America's T2 counters offer a sleek, user-friendly and modern aesthetic, with low-profiles that remove barriers between agent and guest and white kiosk check-in tables with touch-screen panels and a concierge desk look-and-feel.
In line with Virgin America's own award-winning onboard food (which was named best in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure), T2 features Slow Food® concessions with a focus on locally-produced menus – including venues from chefs Cat Cora and Tyler Florence and California favorites like Pinkberry.
Laptop work-tables and plug-in stations, elevated work counters and free WiFi are offered throughout T2.
Virgin America's Airbus A320 Family aircraft feature custom-designed seating, mood-lit cabins, outlets, fleetwide WiFi and touch-screen entertainment platforms with 30 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames and an on-demand menu – so flyers can order a meal from their seat any time in-flight. The carrier's new fleet is up to 25% more fuel and carbon efficient than the average flying domestically.
About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. Virgin America is a U.S. owned and operated airline that has created 2000 jobs and welcomed more than 11 million guests since its August 2007 launch. In January 2011, Virgin America announced plans to triple its fleet size by 2019 with an order for 60 new Airbus A320 Family aircraft – including the first order for the new eco-efficient Airbus A320neo. The airline's current base of operations is SFO's International Terminal. On April 14, 2011, the airline will grow to become an anchor tenant at SFO's new Terminal 2. Elevate is Virgin America's first-of-its-kind loyalty program, which offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat – on any Virgin America flight, at any time. Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun and Chicago (as of May 25, 2011).
About Kara's Cupcakes and Napa Farms Market: Napa Farms Market at T2 is a celebration of locally grown and produced artisan foods and wines. It celebrates the Bay Area's freshest culinary traditions by bringing such well-known artisan brands as Equator Coffee, Three Twins Ice Cream, Acme Bread, Cowgirl Creamery Cheese, Kara's Cupcakes, Mighty Leaf Tea, Frog Hollow Farms produce, Napa Valley Vintner's Association wines and Tyler Florence's Rotisserie of Napa together in one emporium. Additionally, San Francisco-based Vino Volo wine bar, which opened its first location in 2005, will adjoin Napa Farms Market. The market, an extension of the Bay Area's innovative food community, lets travelers create their own picnics-to-go, find special gifts to bring home a culinary memory of San Francisco or relax over a fine glass of wine. Napa Farms Market has been developed and will be operated by Tastes on the Fly, LLC.