Virgin America Brand Axed

Alaska Airlines says it will “retire” the Virgin America brand in 2019 after the two carriers merge – but will retain many of the brand elements popular among Virgin America passengers, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting and music.

Brad Tilden, CEO of Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, explained: “Our goal from the very beginning of this merger was to become the go-to airline for people on the West Coast, with low fares, convenient flights, a premium product and genuine, caring service.

“Three months in, we’ve dramatically grown our presence in California and are united behind a new purpose: creating an airline people love.”

In February, Alaska Airlines announced 25 new daily departures from San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose, California, the largest addition of routes in the company’s history.

Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ VP of Marketing, said: “We spent the last ten months conducting extensive research and listening carefully to what fliers on the West Coast want most.

“While the Virgin America name is beloved to many, we concluded that to be successful on the West Coast we had to do so under one name – for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares.”

Next year Alaska will introduce a redesigned cabin with new seats and amenities, while new staff uniforms by designer Luly Yang will be introduced in mid-2019.

Meanwhile its entire fleet of Boeing 737s will be equipped with high-speed satellite Wi-Fi by this autumn.  Guests will be able to stream free entertainment on their own devices while travelling on the Boeing fleet.  The facility will be extended to the Airbus fleet in August via the Red entertainment system.

Premium seating will be expanded across the Airbus fleet, increasing the number of First Class seats from eight to 12 and adding 18 new Premium Class seats.

On the ground, the airline is refreshing and expanding lounges in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles and opening new facilities in San Francisco and New York/JFK.