VIRGIN AMERICA PUTS ON THE DOG FOR ITS NEWEST DESTINATION: LAUNCHES NEW PUERTO VALLARTA SERVICE AND A ‘NO CHIHUAHUA LEFT BEHIND’ FARE SALE – WITH $25 PER BOOKING
GOING TO ANIMAL RESCUE EFFORTS

Airline Grounds Cross–Country Chihuahua Airlift Planned for Today Due to Hurricane Irene
Pledges $25 for Each Mexico Booking Made During Three–Day Fare Sale to Support SF Animal Care and Control

San Francisco – August 30, 2011 – Virgin America is bringing its stylish, fun and low–fare service to one of Mexico’s hottest destinations as of December 2, 2011:  with tickets on sale now for its new nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR).*  To mark its expansion to its third Mexican destination and to celebrate Puerto Vallarta’s roots as an animal sanctuary, today the carrier launches a “No Chihuahua Left Behind” fare sale in support of its ongoing Chihuahua rescue and airlift efforts. As the only San Francisco–based airline, Virgin America first teamed up with the City of San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SF ACC) in 2010 to fly Chihuahuas to new homes on the East Coast. The overpopulation of Chihuahuas in California continues to force West Coast animal shelters to look for help from shelters on the East Coast – where there is demand for the dogs. Due to the impact of Hurricane Irene and the associated re–accommodation of guests on all open flights, the airline postponed plans to fly an “Operation: Chihuahua” airlift from San Francisco to New York today. Even though the SF ACC Chihuahuas are temporarily grounded, the airline is keeping the dogs on “standby” for a rescheduled airlift – and is also pledging $25** for every Mexico booking made during the three–day fare sale to support local dogs and future airlift flights.

“We’re pleased to offer our new low–fare flights to travelers looking to kick off their vacations to Puerto Vallarta in style,” said Ross Bonanno, Vice President of Airports and Guest Services at Virgin America. “With Puerto Vallarta’s history as an animal refuge, we thought this launch would also be a great opportunity to support our ongoing efforts with SF Animal Care and Control. We’re excited to give flyers a reason to support a worthy cause with a great fare sale, and of course, to roll out the red carpet for our little VIPs now traveling standby in Main Chihuahua Select later this year.”

The “No Chihuahua Left Behind” fare sale is good for travel between September 6, 2011 and December 15, 2011 on all Virgin America routes – including Mexico destinations (the airline flies to Cancun, Los Cabos and as of December 2: Puerto Vallarta). Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PDT on September 1. Main Cabin fares start as low as $49*** on short–haul routes and from $129*** (restrictions, taxes and fees apply) on all Mexico routes, including the new SFO–PVR route.**** Tickets are now available for purchase at www.virginamerica.com and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).***** Guests who book a Mexican flight during the three–day fare sale will help sponsor a Chihuahua, with the airline pledging $25 per Mexico booking** to support  the SF ACC via both cash and in–kind flights for future airlifts.  Those who book will also receive a share–able Facebook photo of one of the dogs they helped “adopt” in an email booking confirmation. The carrier’s Facebook page is inviting guests to vote on which SF ACC dogs should be “upgraded” on the rescheduled SFO–JFK flights.

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. In 2010, Puerto Vallarta was named the best Mexican vacation destination by U.S. News & World Report – and it is estimated that over three million travelers visit annually. The area is also known as an environmental refuge, with a globally–recognized sea turtle conservation program and a variety of eco–tourism attractions. For more on the area’s beaches, attractions and history, visit: http://visitpuertovallarta.com/explore–vallarta–banderas–bay/

“On behalf of Puerto Vallarta I would like to thank Virgin America for choosing our beautiful city as the perfect place for their new flights. We cannot wait to show our destination to more San Francisco visitors,” said Puerto Vallarta Mayor Salvador González Resendiz. “Travel partners like Virgin America add a plus to the pleasure of traveling, they make vacations a whole new experience. Complementing their excellent service with a paradise–like destination is the perfect way to ensure success.”

The airline plans to reschedule the next “Operation: Chihuahua” airlift for later this year under clearer skies. The wayfaring Chihuahuas have already experienced their fair share of weather–related delays, with a former “Operation: Chihuahua” airlift called off in December 2009 due to the epic East Coast snowstorms.  The airline was able to reschedule the flights in 2010, so that dozens of dogs could be placed into loving New York homes – after first enjoying the flight service named the best in the U.S. in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards and Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards.  Due to the delay in transport caused by the impacts of Hurricane Irene, SF ACC is encouraging Bay Area residents to visit the shelter and adopt. SF ACC is now at maximum capacity and has no more space for incoming dogs. Chihuahuas up for adoption at SF ACC will be available at 50 percent off the normal adoption fee now through September 12. More on the Chihuahua overpopulation issue and the SF ACC can be found at: www.animalshelter.sfgov.org.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to again partner with our hometown airline,” said Rebecca Katz, Director of the City of San Francisco Animal Care and Control. “We have a major overpopulation of Chihuahuas here in California. Virgin America’s continued support in flying these little guys out to the East Coast over the last couple of years has helped us place them into loving homes that they couldn’t have found here. Even though weather will delay this latest airlift, we are pleased Virgin America has stepped up to provide much–needed support to the dozens of pups we now literally have on standby. We encourage Bay Area residents to drop–in and check out their local shelters if they’re thinking about adopting.”

Virgin America also today launches a line of new pet–friendly products on Virgin America’s Swag Shop, including Virgin–branded pet hoodies and a pets–only water bottle that offers hydration for bi–coastal pups on the go. All swag shop items earn 1 Elevate point per $1 spent. For more, visit: www.virginamericaswagshop.com

The carrier’s new PVR schedule (below) will operate daily except for Mondays and Thursdays as of December 2******:
SFO–PVR 0930–1510
PVR–SFO 1610–1815

In just four years flying, Virgin America has much to celebrate with expansion to 15 destinations (including PVR), the creation of 2,100 new jobs and a sweep of the major travel awards, including “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and “Best Domestic Airline” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards. With topnotch service, beautiful design and a host of high–tech amenities, Virgin America has received a number of consumer accolades and built a passionate and loyal flyer base. The airline offers guests and Chihuahuas alike a unique flying experience, with mood–lit cabins, touch–screen entertainment and fleetwide in–flight WiFi.

For photos from past “Operation Chihuahua” airlifts go to: www.virginamerica.com/vx/operation–chihuahua.

###

Media Contacts:
Virgin America: Patricia Condon | 650–906–8147 | patricia.condon@virginamerica.com
SF Animal Care & Control: Deb Campbell | 415–554–9427 | Deb.campbell@sfgov.org
Puerto Vallarta: Gustavo Rivas–Solis | 212–633–2047 | gustavo@latitude–intl.com

About the San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control: The San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control is a taxpayer–funded, open door animal shelter.  SF ACC adopts out a variety of animals and provides housing, care and medical treatment to wild, exotic and domestic stray, lost, abandoned sick, injured and/or surrendered animals. SF ACC aims to rehome or reunite domestic animals with their guardians, and to rehabilitate and release wildlife to their native habitat.  SF ACC responds to animal related emergencies 24/7 including animal abuse and neglect as well as matters of public safety. www.animalshelter.sfgov.org

About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in–flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat. Virgin America offers Gogo™ WiFi on every flight and hosts the largest in–flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch–screen Red™ platform. In April, the airline opened its new home as an anchor tenant at SFO’s sleek and sustainable Terminal Two (T2). www.virginamerica.com. For photos + video: http://www.virginamerica.com/about/airline–photos/virgin–america–pictures.html

EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S. controlled and operated airline and an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.

*Although Virgin America has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the authority to fly to PVR, the service is still subject to Mexican government approval.

**Donation to SF ACC: Virgin America will donate $25 per booking (in both cash and in–kind tickets) to San Francisco Animal Care and Control rescue efforts, including general shelter support, food and future airlift flight bookings (up to a total of 1200 bookings – with total donation amount not to exceed $25,000) for Mexico fares booked from August 30, 2011 at 7:01am PDT–September 1, 2011 at 11:59pm PDT made directly with Virgin America (through its Web site or Call Center). A booking is a single booking (either one–way or roundtrip) for one itinerary, which may or may not include multiple guests.

***Terms and Conditions (System): 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 September 6, 2011 and December 15, 2011. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PDT September 1, 2011. Lowest sale fares are not available for travel on Fridays and Sundays. Blackout dates are November 18, 2011 through November 29, 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. For service to/from Mexico, fares do not include the U.S. Immigration User Fee of $7, the U.S. APHIS fee of $5, a U.S. International Arrival/Departure Tax of $16.30 each way 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 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 50 pounds (70 pounds for travel through October 28, 2011) for $25 for each ticketed guest traveling within the U.S. and 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.

****Terms and Conditions (PVR Only): PVR service is subject to government approval. All Main Cabin fares are one–way and based on travel originating from the U.S. Travel must occur between December 2, 2011 and March 14, 2012. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PDT September 1, 2011. PVR service is not available for travel on Mondays and Thursdays. Blackout dates are December 16, 2011 through January 4, 2012 and February 17, February 20, 2012. 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. For service to/from Mexico, fares do not include the U.S. Immigration User Fee of $7, the U.S. APHIS fee of $5, a U.S. International Arrival/Departure Tax of $16.30 each way 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. 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 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.

 

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