VIRGIN AMERICA BREEZES INTO CHICAGO O’HARE
New Airline Blows Some Fresh Competition into the Windy City – With Upscale Flights and Low Fares from $99*
Chicago-based Groupon Helps Launch the Airline with a Featured Deal on Virgin America’s New ORD Flights

San Francisco – February 17, 2011 – Virgin America, the California-based airline that is reinventing domestic travel, today announces it will bring its low-fare, upscale service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), with daily nonstop flights from both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting May 25, 2011. Known for its beautifully designed cabins and high-tech amenities, Virgin America has been winning over consumers and sweeping the major travel awards since its August 2007 launch – including capturing the “Best Domestic Airline” title in both Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s  World’s Best Awards for the past three consecutive years. With legacy airlines representing 98 percent of domestic departures at ORD, Virgin America hopes to inject some healthy competition into the market.

“Until today, travelers flying from O’Hare to SFO or LAX had little choice and few low fare options. With unrivalled service and new planes that look like nothing else in the skies, we hope our flights will be a breath of fresh air for Chicago travelers,” said Virgin America President and Chief Executive Officer David Cush. “When more airlines compete, consumers tend to win – with lower fares and better service. Mayor Daley and the airport have shown tremendous vision by investing in ORD’s future and by helping to open up access to new competition.”

Virgin America originally announced its intent to serve ORD in 2008, but its plans were delayed due to gate availability. Through the leadership provided by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and ORD Airport Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino, the airline reached an agreement to occupy gate space at ORD’s now vacated Concourse L.

Virgin America Announces Flights to Chicago O'Hare

Virgin America CEO and President David Cush (center) joins Groupon COO Rob Solomon (left), ORD Airport Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to announce the airline’s new Windy City service at Chicago's City Hall on February 17, 2011.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Virgin America to Chicago O’Hare,” said Mayor Daley. “O’Hare is one of the world’s busiest travel hubs, and our air transport infrastructure continues to play a critical role in our region’s economic future. New airline service stimulates travel demand and job growth – and is a powerful economic driver, especially when linking major business centers like Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Our investment to help bring new airline competition to ORD will not only stimulate economic growth, it will directly benefit travelers by lowering fares and improving service.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Virgin America to O’Hare,” said Airport Commissioner Andolino. “Our passengers will see a big benefit from the increased competition and from Virgin America’s low fare, innovative service.”

Virgin America’s Main Cabin ORD fares start from $99*(restrictions, taxes and fees applying) and are on sale today on the airline’s Web site (www.virginamerica.com) and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).** To kick off its new Windy City service, the airline is teaming up with the Chicago-based Groupon for today’s Featured Deal that will give Groupon-subscribers in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco the chance to purchase a $7 Groupon good for $77 in air fare for a roundtrip purchase on Virgin America’s new ORD routes.*** When more than 25 people accept the offer, thousands of “Grouponistas” will score an incredible deal on the airline’s new ORD flights. The offer for travel on the tech-forward new airline is the first Featured Deal that Groupon has launched solely for air travel. For more, visit: http://www.groupon.com/deals/virgin-america-chicago

With outstanding service and a host of inventive amenities, Virgin America has captured a loyal business and leisure travel following. The airline’s new Airbus A320 Family aircraft feature beautifully designed mood-lit cabins, standard power outlets near every seat and comfortable leather seating. The Red™ in-flight entertainment platform offers every guest their own seat-back touch-screen with 30 on-demand films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, music videos, a 3000 MP3 catalog and an on-demand menu – so flyers can order a cocktail or meal right from their seatback any time during a flight. In May 2009, the airline became the first to offer Gogo™ WiFi on every flight – via its partnership with the Illinois-based Aircell.  The carrier marked that milestone with the first air-to-ground SKYPE chat from a plane at 35,000 feet to Oprah Winfrey and her studio audience.

In addition to a Main Cabin that offers every traveler a personal touch-screen entertainment platform, power outlets and custom-designed leather seating with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, the airline’s First Class offers plush white leather seating with 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers. Virgin America’s Main Cabin Select option offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to the Red system’s countless media options, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding.

“Travelers deserve more options than just the off-chance they will be able to upgrade from poor to average on a legacy airline. On Virgin America, across every class of service – everyone has a great seat, their own seatback entertainment and status – right out of the gate,” added Cush.

The airline’s daily nonstop ORD schedule is as follows:

FROM TO DEP ARR   FROM TO DEP ARR
ORD LAX 845 1100   LAX ORD 1205 1810
ORD LAX 1915 2135   LAX ORD 1755 2345
ORD SFO 700 930   SFO ORD 655 1305
ORD SFO 1405 1635   SFO ORD 1025 1640
ORD SFO 1735 2010   SFO ORD 1635 2245

Connecting flights will also be available from ORD to Virgin America’s San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas destinations.

Virgin America is a U.S. owned and operated airline that has created 1,900 jobs and welcomed more than 11 million guests since its August 2007 launch. The airline’s Elevate frequent flyer program allows guests to redeem points for any unsold seat – on any Virgin America flight, at any time. In January 2011, Virgin America announced plans to triple its fleet size by 2019 with a firm order for 60 new Airbus A320 Family aircraft – including the first commercial order for the new eco-efficient Airbus A320neo engine option.  The airline’s current A320 Family fleet is already up to 25 percent more fuel efficient than the average fleet flying domestically. Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Toronto (ends April 6, 2011), Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun and Chicago (starting May 25, 2011).

# # #

Media Contact: Abby Lunardini (650) 533-7576 / abby.lunardini@virginamerica.com

For photos: http://www.virginamerica.com/about/airline-photos/virgin-america-pictures.html
For broadcast quality video of our aircraft and mood-lit cabins: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/virginamerica/48650/

EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S. owned, controlled and operated airline. It 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 and launched in August 2007, 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’s International Terminal. The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear. Virgin America offers Gogo™ in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red™ platform. In just three over years flying, the carrier was named “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 World’s Best Awards.

*Terms and Conditions: All Main Cabin fares are one-way. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PST February 21, 2011. 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 $3.70 per domestic segment. A segment is a takeoff and landing. Travel must occur between May 25, 2011 and September 6, 2011. 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 $75 fee if changes are made on Virgin America’s website (www.virginamerica.com) or a $100 fee through all other channels, including the call center and at the airport, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. Changes or cancellations of a booking made with Elevate Points will be subject to a $75 redeposit fee. Guests who no-show without a change or cancel 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 one (1) piece of checked baggage up to 70 pounds for $25 for each ticketed guest. 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.

**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.

***Groupon Terms and Conditions: This offer is for a unique promo code good for $77 off roundtrip travel on Virgin America between San Francisco (SFO)/Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago (ORD) in the following non-refundable Main Cabin fare classes: S, L, M, U, E, H, B, or V. Promo code may only be used once and is only valid for a single guest roundtrip itinerary. Tickets must be purchased at least 7 days in advance of outbound travel and before 11:59pm PST on May 25, 2011. This offer is not valid for travel to any other destinations or one way or multi-city itineraries. $77 will be deducted from the roundtrip base ticket price only; government-imposed taxes and fees are additional and promo code may not be used towards such taxes and fees, which include: Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9 each way, a September 11th Security Fee of up to $5 each way and a Federal Segment Tax of $3.70 per domestic segment. A segment is a takeoff and landing. All travel under this offer must occur between May 25, 2011 and November 15, 2011. Blackout dates are May 27, May 30, July 1, July 4, July 5, September 2, and September 5, 2011. 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 virginamerica.com and is only valid on itineraries of one (1) guest. Offer 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 $75 fee if changes are made on Virgin America’s website or a $100 fee through all other channels, including the call center and at the airport, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. Increase in fare is calculated as the difference between the new fare and the amount originally paid post-discount. 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 70 pounds for $25 for each ticketed guest traveling within the U.S. 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.

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