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Airline Takes Off for its Third Mexican Destination; Launches First Nonstop Flights from San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta Celebrates ‘Viva La Vacación’ Winners Onboard Inaugural Flight

San Francisco – December 2, 2011 – Virgin America, the award-winning California-based airline, takes its low-fare, upscale flights south of the border today with the launch of its newest Mexican destinations – with five nonstop flights a week from the airline’s home base of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR).  The PVR destination offers travelers easy access to both Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit.  The region will be the 15th market in the airline’s expanding network.  With stylish, mood-lit cabins and award-winning service, Virgin America is the perfect fit for travelers looking to get away this winter to some of Mexico’s top resort destinations.  Puerto Vallarta was recently voted best Mexican vacation destination by U.S. News & World, and its northern neighbor Riviera Nayarit was named the newest global celebrity “hot spot” by Harper’s Bazaar magazine.  To kick-off the airline’s new service today, Virgin America hosts a gate-side fiesta at SFO for its inaugural flight guests, complete with margaritas and mariachi band.  The airline’s SFO-PVR flights start from $119,* with taxes, restrictions and fees applying.

“We continue to see strong demand for Mexico travel and we’re pleased to launch new service to these historic and world-class destinations.  With unrivalled service and amenities, we hope that our new flights will allow travelers to kick off their Mexican vacations in style – from the minute they step onboard one of our aircraft,” said David Cush, President and Chief Executive Officer of Virgin America.

Joining the first commercial guests onboard Virgin America’s inaugural flight to PVR are finalists of Virgin America’s Viva la Vacación Video Challenge powered by Squabbler, who faced off online with 30 second videos sharing their “best, boldest or most bizarre vacation stories.” The social media-driven video challenge attracted submissions from those acting out their most entertaining vacation memories, in order to compete for the ultimate getaway.  The finalists scored a spot on the inaugural PVR flight and a luxury hotel stay.  The grand prize winner will also have their vacation tale immortalized: as a video on the Red™ in-flight entertainment system onboard Virgin America fleetwide.  

Upon touchdown, many of the invited guests onboard Virgin America’s first flight to PVR will enjoy first class treatment at the Marival Residences & World Spa (an all inclusive luxury hotel located in Nuevo Vallarta, Rivira de Nayarit) and the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa (4 Diamond luxury resort located at the exclusive Marina Area nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay).

 “Virgin America offers guests an unparalleled flying experience, just as Puerto Vallarta offers visitors a vacation unlike any other,” said Salvador González Resendiz, Mayor of Puerto Vallarta. “Puerto Vallarta is the perfect location for their newest warm-weather destination.  We look forward to complementing Virgin America’s excellent service.”

Located on the Pacific Coast where the states of Jalisco and Nayarit meet, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s hottest destinations with a rich cultural tradition, a historic cobblestone downtown, family-friendly attractions and world-class resorts.  Puerto Vallarta was named “Friendliest City” by Condé Nast Traveler – and it is estimated that over three million travelers visit annually.  Nearby Riviera Nayarit, Mexico’s in vogue destination, stretches along 192 miles of Pacific coast framed by the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains just ten minutes north of PVR.  The region extends along the entire coast of the Pacific state of Nayarit and includes the resorts of Nuevo Vallarta in Banderas Bay, the historic colonial town of San Blas, exclusive Punta Mita, picturesque fishing villages and one of California’s favorites:  the surfing village of Sayulita.  

“We are thrilled to welcome the new Virgin America flights from San Francisco,” said Marc Murphy, Director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Guests of Riviera Nayarit will discover and enjoy a unique vacation experience complemented by pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations and outstanding service.”

SFO-PVR fares start from $119* (restrictions, taxes and fees apply).  Tickets are now available for purchase at www.virginamerica.com and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).**  The carrier’s new PVR schedule (below) will operate daily except for Mondays and Thursdays***:
SFO–PVR 0930–1510
PVR–SFO 1610–1815

Connecting flights are also available from PVR to Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Known for friendly service, beautifully designed cabins and innovative amenities, Virgin America has been winning over consumers and travel awards since its 2007 launch, including being named “Best Domestic Airline” in both Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s  World’s Best Awards.  In four years flying, the airline has expanded to 15 destinations (including PVR) and created 2,100 new jobs. The carrier offers mood–lit cabins, custom-designed leather seating, WiFi fleetwide,**** power outlets and the most advanced entertainment system in the skies.  The Red™ platform offers each guest their own touch-screen with 35 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat–to–seat chat, music videos, 3000 MP3s and an on-demand menu that allows guests to order a cocktail or meal from their seat any time during a flight. 

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, Chicago, and as of today – Puerto Vallarta. On December 15, the airline will launch new service to Palm Springs.

Photos and video of Virgin America’s unique cabins can be found at: http://www.virginamerica.com/about/airline-photos/virgin-america-pictures.html
Broadcast b-roll can also be downloaded at: http://www.virginamerica.com/about/airline-company.html

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Media Contacts: 
Virgin America: Abby Lunardini / 650.533.7576 / abby.lunardini@virginamerica.com
Visit Puerto Vallarta: Gustavo Rivas-Solis / 212.633.2047 / Gustavo@latitude.com
Riveria Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau: M Silver Associates,  Miruna Seitan /212 - 754 6500 ext. 239 / Miruna@msilver-pr.com

EDITORS NOTE:  Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled, owned 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, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel.  In just four years flying, Virgin America was named “Best Domestic Airline” in the Conde Nast Traveler 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 ‘Readers’ Choice’ Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 ‘World’s Best’ Awards.  The airline’s base of operations is San Francisco International Airport (SFO).   The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat.  Virgin America hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red™ platform. In addition to a Main Cabin that offers each guest a personal TV, outlets and a leather seat with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, the airline’s First Class Cabin offers plush white leather seating with 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers. The carrier’s Main Cabin Select option offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to the Red system’s media options, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding. For more: www.virginamerica.com

About Puerto Vallarta:  Located in the state of Jalisco, is well known for the preservation of its authentic Mexican traditions, the Puerto Vallarta area features 40 miles of coastline and a diverse topography, including tropical jungles, rocky river beds, steep mountain sides and arid flatlands. Each region brings a uniqueness that adds to the entire charm of Puerto Vallarta.  The historic downtown area is a delightful collection of white walled houses, wrought-iron balconies, red-tiled roofs and cobble stoned streets.In addition to its long stretch of sunny, picturesque beaches, Puerto Vallarta’s authentic Mexican flavor proves a big draw for most North American visitors. The town’s main square and malecon come alive on weekends with live music, local families strolling, artists, mimes, and diverse cultural entertainment.  Puerto Vallarta hosts numerous cultural festivals and sports tournaments year-round. The month of November is particularly busy with the Pro-Am Golf Cup, the International Gourmet Festival, the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival, the Sailfish and Marlin Fishing Tournament, and the Half-Marathon. The month of May sees a host of music and theater festivals. Many other events are scheduled throughout the year. For more information look after www.visitpuertovallarta.com and share your stories at www.facebook.com/puertovallarta

About Riviera Nayarit: Mexico’s newest destination, Riviera Nayarit, stretches along 192 miles of pristine Pacific coast framed by the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains just ten minutes north of accessible Puerto Vallarta International Airport.  The region extends along the entire coast of the Pacific state of Nayarit including the resorts of Nuevo Vallarta, the historic colonial town of San Blas, exclusive Punta Mita, picturesque fishing villages, miles of serene beaches and spectacular Banderas Bay.  Riviera Nayarit offers countless activities, all pleasantly affordable, such as: PGA golf courses, luxury spas, whale watching, turtle release, zip lining, surfing, record deep sea fishing, bird watching, international cuisine, and shopping for local artwork and traditional Huichol handicrafts.  The region attracts and satisfies vacationers of all tastes and budgets with its wide range of accommodations including chic luxury resorts, eco-tourism boutique hotels and quaint B&B inns.  For more information, visit www.RivieraNayarit.com or find us on Facebook

About the CasaMagna Marriot Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa: Nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay, the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is a 4 Diamond luxury resort and features 433 guestrooms with luxurious bedding, contemporary bathrooms, new decor with Mexican-inspired colors and patterns, four world-class restaurants, and banquet facilities and business meeting rooms. The CasaMagna Resort in Puerto Vallarta features Ohtli Spa, the most spacious and luxurious full service resort spa in Puerto Vallarta.  The resort’s sandy beach offers lounge chairs, umbrellas, sunshine and the perfect setting for a memorable destination wedding.  For more: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pvrmx-casamagna-marriott-puerto-vallarta-resort-and-spa

About Miraval Residences & World Spa: Everyone agrees..."There is nothing like the luxurious four diamond all inclusive Marival Residences & World Spa", consistently ranked #1 on Trip Advisor in the Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit region.   This is the 1st all-inclusive resort to offer luxurious, spacious one to four bedroom Residences — 1400 sq ft is the smallest!  Elegantly styled accommodations, intimate manicured grounds and a private full service beach club are complemented by fabulous gourmet menus at 3 restaurants, room service 24/7, and an international wine bar — all included.  Also included are a variety of the area’s most popular excursions like dolphin and sea lion encounters, canopy zip lining, catamaran snorkeling cruises, sunset sailing and a city tour of Puerto Vallarta — as well as unlimited rounds of golf at the championship Nicklaus and Weiskopf Vista Vallarta courses!  In addition, the resort’s "Melange Spa" is world class and a very unique experience, featuring treatment rooms and therapies indigenous to nine different countries from around the world.   Special from the moment you arrive and "seriously all inclusive", it’s easy to see why guests claim this resort is, "A world apart, in a class by itself!"

* Fare terms and conditions: All Main Cabin fares are one-way, based on travel originating from the U.S., and require a 7-day advance purchase. Travel must occur between December 9, 2011 and March 14, 2012. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm CST December 5, 2011. Blackout dates are December 23, 2011 and February 17, 2012. Fares do not include Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9 each way, the 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. For service to/from Mexico, 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, and additional taxes/fees of up to $60, including: Mexico International Departure Tax and Mexico Tourism Tax. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. 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 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 one (1) piece of checked baggage up to 50 pounds 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.

**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

***All times are local. Effective January 5, 2012, schedule becomes 0930–1505 southbound and 1605–1805 northbound. Connections will be available to and from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.

****Virgin America’s live satellite television and WiFi are not available on the aircraft after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
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