SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – This week, Virgin America, the airline that has been reinventing flying since its August 2007 launch, marks its fourth year anniversary with festivities that celebrate the airline’s continued job growth, network expansion and innovative service. To mark birthday number four, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee has proclaimed the airline’s anniversary date of August 8, 2011, “Virgin America Day” in the City of San Francisco. In order to thank its loyal local flyers, today the airline is offering a hometown fare sale, with San Francisco fares starting from $49, with taxes, fees and restrictions applying. In addition, this weekend, the airline will kick off its anniversary week by celebrating with sports fans at “Virgin America Day at AT&T Park,” as the San Francisco Giants host the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday (August 6th). As a special birthday present to its hometown, Virgin America will offer all attendees at AT&T Park this Saturday an exclusive two-for-one flight voucher on the airline that just last month captured Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Domestic Airline title for the fourth year in a row.
Today, the carrier also announces it has renewed and expanded a multi-year multi-million dollar partnership with the world champion San Francisco Giants through 2015. The partnership includes unique stadium branding, such as the “Virgin America Loft” at McCovey Cove, in-stadium signage and LEDs and the unveiling of the “Virgin America Club Level” in 2012. It also includes experiential promotions during select games like this Saturday’s, in-flight entertainment integrations (including a Giants channel in-flight) and more special events and flights to be announced in 2012. In 2012, the airline will also offer Giants fans the option to watch more live games at 35,000 feet – with most Giants game broadcasts offered fleetwide via the carrier’s in-flight satellite television. The carrier has served as “the Official Airline of the San Francisco Giants” since 2008. In 2010, the airline transported the World Series trophy (in its First Class cabin) across the U.S. for events with team leadership.
“Virgin America was launched with a lofty mission – to make flying good again,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “In the past four years our teammates have worked hard to do just that, by building an airline that has swept the major travel awards and gained a fan following of its own. Our success is a credit to the hard work of all 2,100 members of our growing team and to the outpouring of support from this community. We’re thrilled to celebrate our fourth anniversary with the people who believed we could change the way people fly: partners like the Giants, local fans and flyers, and of course, our teammates.”
In four short years, Virgin America has much to celebrate with expansion to 14 new destinations, the creation of 2,100 new jobs and a sweep of the major travel industry best-in-class awards for the quality of its service, including “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and “Best Domestic Airline” in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards. With industry-leading service, beautiful design and a host of high-tech amenities, Virgin America has received a number of press and consumer accolades and built a passionate and loyal flyer base.
“We are pleased to congratulate San Francisco’s hometown airline as it continues to spread its wings and grow,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “In addition to having built deep roots in this community through its charitable community partnerships, Virgin America has created thousands of jobs, lowered fares for local travelers and is an anchor tenant for SFO’s new world-class and sustainable Terminal Two. Our City is proud that Virgin America calls San Francisco home, and I am so pleased to declare it Virgin America Day in San Francisco.”
To thank hometown flyers, the carrier today launches a fare sale on San Francisco International Airport (SFO) routes for travel between August 10, 2011-November 16, 2011. Fares start from $49* on short-haul SFO flights and from $99* on long-haul SFO flights, with restrictions, taxes and fees applying. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PDT tonight (August 4). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Virgin America’s Web site (www.virginamerica.com) and 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).***
The carrier’s teammates and friends will be out en masse at AT&T Park on August 6th cheering for San Francisco. During the game, the airline will be hosting a live #FlyTheBeard Twitter Scavenger Hunt. Game-goers can follow the carrier on Twitter using their mobile devices and track the #FlyTheBeard hashtag for photo clues. The first to locate tweeting in-flight teammates (who will be sporting beards at various locations in-ballpark), will score Giants/Virgin swag and the chance to win a free flight.
Virgin America is one of the fastest growing U.S. airlines in history. Since launching on August 8, 2007, the airline has grown to 130 flights a day, hosted 80 million unique visitors on its Web site, completed more than 120,000 flights, signed up more than 1.9 million Elevate frequent flyers and welcomed nearly 13 million guests. The airline has grown from a few hundred teammates in 2007 to 2,100 – with plans to add approximately 500 new jobs on an annual basis over the next three years. The carrier continues to expand its fleet, growing from its current 39 A320 Family fleet to a projected 52 aircraft by mid-2012. Virgin America launched new service to Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun and Chicago in the past year alone. The carrier is an anchor tenant at San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) sleek new Terminal Two (T2) – which is slated to be the first LEED® Gold-certified airport terminal in the U.S. As one of the nation’s few growing airlines, the carrier’s decision to headquarter in the Bay Area has injected competition into the market, lowered fares and helped make SFO one of the nation’s few growing airports.
In the past year, Virgin America has marked more than a few notable milestones:
In July 2011, the airline announced its intent to fly to Puerto Vallarta, its third Mexican destination;
In July 2011, the airline became the first to capture Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Award for “Best Domestic Airline” in each of its first four years of flying – 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011;
In June 2011, the carrier won “Best Low-cost Airline” and “Best Overall Guest Service” in the World Airline Awards;
In June 2011, the airline became the launch customer for the new 15% more fuel efficient CFM LEAP Engine;
In May 2011, Virgin America launched its first flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and offered Chicagoans the chance to “taste test” the new carrier versus the competition via a Facebook Challenge;
In April 2011, the airline opened its SFO T2 home, with a tandem inaugural flight alongside Virgin Galactic’s spaceship;
In April 2011, the airline launched a national multi-media “Breath of Fresh Airline” Ad Campaign;
In February 2011, the airline announced new service to ORD at a press conference with then Chicago Mayor Richard Daley at City Hall. The airline also teamed up with the Chicago-based Groupon for the first-ever Groupon for air travel;
In February 2011, the carrier took top honors for “Passenger Service” in Air Transport World’s Achievement Awards;
In January 2011, the carrier ordered 60 Airbus A320 aircraft, including the first order for the new eco-efficient A320neo;
In January 2011, the airline announced the selection of Sabre to power its reservations and operational systems. The move later this fall will position the airline for growth with enhanced guest, code-share and revenue capabilities;
In January 2011, the airline launched new service to its second Mexican destination of Cancun International Airport (CUN) – and celebrated with a VH1 “Top 20 Countdown” episode filming onboard its inaugural flight;
In December 2010, the airline launched flights to its first Mexican city – San Jose del Cabo International Airport (SJD);
In December 2010, the airline launched flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with an inaugural flight receiving line of longhorn steers on the tarmac and a benefit concert at the Winspear Opera House with Texas legend Willie Nelson;
In November 2010, the airline became the first carrier to offer frequent flyer points for location-based virtual check-ins;
In November 2010, the airline was named Best-in-Class in the 2010 Zagat Global Airline Survey;
In November 2010, the carrier issued its Climate & Sustainability Report which shared its industry-leading emissions data;
In fall 2010, the airline teamed up with Google to offer free WiFi over the holidays and to move the Company to Gmail;
In October 2010, the airline reported its first quarterly net profit;
In October 2010, the airline launched flights to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and marked the occasion by teaming up with Awkward Family Photos to encourage people to upload their “most awkward” vacation photos;
In October 2010, the carrier wins Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Award “Best Domestic Airline” for the third year;
In September 2010, the carrier won best guest experience and entertainment in the APEX Passenger Choice Awards™;
In September 2010, the carrier won #1 Business/First Class in Conde Nast Traveler’s Business Travel Poll for the third year;
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;
In August 2010, the airline launched a Virgin global frequent flyer partnership with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia – and kicked it off with a chance for one lucky frequent flyer to win a trip to Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands;
The airline continues to innovate in the social media space, with a loyal following on the ground and in the air and first-of-their kind campaigns like the #FlyFwdGiveBack Twitter sale, the first Groupon for airfare and virtual check-ins;
The airline continues to expand its airline partnerships – with nine interline partnerships now live.
Other notable milestones since the airline’s launch:
First airline to host live You Tube broadcast from 35,000 feet in Nov. 2008 and first to offer WiFi fleetwide in May 2009;
Only U.S. airline with standard power outlets at every seat and seat-to-seat text chatting;
Only airline in the U.S. with a touch-screen seatback menu that allows guests to order what they want, when they want it during a flight. The airline’s menu was awarded the “Best Domestic Airline for Food” title by Travel + Leisure in 2009;
First U.S. airline to offer carbon offsets in-flight and report emissions via the Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization that sets consistent standards to calculate, verify and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
Most fuel efficient fleet in the U.S. – 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., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun and Chicago.