Virgin America Touches Down In Palm Springs | Virgin America

VIRGIN AMERICA TOUCHES DOWN IN PALM SPRINGS
Award-Winning Airline Launches New Flight Service to Palm Springs from San Francisco and New York
Sir Richard Branson and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet Roll out the Red Carpet for First Flight Guests

San Francisco – December 15, 2011 – Virgin America, the California-based airline that is reinventing travel, today celebrates the launch of its upscale, low-fare service to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) – the sixteenth market in the carrier’s expanding network.  The new destination arrives just in time for winter getaways, with seasonal daily nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to PSP and seasonal daily “same plane” through flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to PSP, as of today.  This afternoon, the airline touches down for the first time in Palm Springs and celebrates its inaugural flight with a red carpet welcome on the arrival tarmac for its first PSP commercial guests.  Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and Virgin America President and CEO David Cush will also join the SFO-PSP flight today.  The airline’s SFO-PSP fares start from $79* and JFK-SFO-PSP through flight fares start from $169.*

“We’re pleased to be growing and bringing new competition into markets like Palm Springs and the surrounding desert resort cities.  When we enter markets with less competition, we see fares drop and service improve.  This area is a world-class travel destination – and visitors and residents alike deserve more air travel options,” said David Cush, President and Chief Executive Officer of Virgin America.  “We hope our service will be a breath of fresh air for residents and for travelers to the desert oasis.” 

Known for outstanding service, beautifully designed cabins and unrivalled in-flight entertainment, Virgin America has swept the 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 for the past four years.  Before the airline’s launch, there was little low-fare competition on the SFO-PSP routes and no “same plane” through flight service from JFK-PSP. 

“The Virgin brand is known all over the globe for its high-end, award-winning service.  This new flight service will not only offer travelers to our world class destination a new choice, but it will help stimulate tourism – our Valley’s top industry.  We are so pleased to welcome Virgin America to the Palm Springs International Airport,” said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

PSP is the latest expansion for the growing carrier.  Virgin America is the only airline headquartered in California. In just four years flying, the airline has expanded to 16 destinations (including PSP) and has created 2,200 new jobs.  As one of the few growing U.S. carriers, the airline has launched service to Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta and Palm Springs this year alone.  Virgin America plans to add 500 additional jobs annually over the next several years.

“The Virgin brand is a perfect fit with our destination,” said Scott White, President and CEO of Palm Springs Desert Resorts CVA.  “From our stylish hotels and resorts to our international festivals and 360 days of sunshine, the Virgin America guest will be able to find and experience their personal oasis!  Virgin America’s new nonstop and through flights from SFO and JFK will also lower fares and improve service in our market, allowing more travelers to enjoy all that our unique region has to offer.”

Upon touchdown of Virgin America’s first flight at PSP, the new Airbus A320 aircraft will receive a traditional water cannon salute.  The inaugural flight guests (including commercial travelers and the airline’s special guests) will be welcomed by local officials at a red carpet reception right on the PSP tarmac.  Flight guests will receive a Palm Springs welcome with a Virgin twist: enjoying date milk shakes, food and cocktails upon arrival – and a DJ spinning live music as they de-plane.  

Virgin America’s all-new fuel-efficient fleet offers custom-designed mood-lit cabins and amenities like fleetwide WiFi, power outlets and personal entertainment at every seat.  The Red™ platform offers guests their own seatback touch-screen TV, with 35 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, music videos, a 3000 song library and an on-demand menu – so flyers can order a cocktail or snack from their seatback any time during a flight.  In addition to a Main Cabin that offers 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.  The carrier’s Main Cabin Select option offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to media content, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding. 

To toast its new flights to Hollywood’s playground, the airline is asking its social media followers to help get its next new plane “ready for its close-up.”  The growing airline’s Facebook friends are being invited to submit a glamorous new name for the next Virgin America aircraft.  The winner** gets a chance to see their name cruising at 35,000 feet as a permanent addition to Virgin America’s fleet – along with a trip for two to Palm Springs, with flights on Virgin America and a two-night stay at the luxurious Riviera Palm Springs. Situated at the base of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, the Riviera Palm Springs is an iconic playground of the past, and today characterizes the best in Old Hollywood glamour with a fresh, playful twist.

Palm Springs and the other cities that make up the Desert Resorts destination, is the ultimate playground for outdoor adventure, arts and culture, gaming and entertainment.  Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Coachella, Cathedral City and Palm Desert offer streets lined with palm trees, the best in shopping, art galleries and museums and renowned outdoor dining – all amidst breathtaking scenery.  In addition to luxury resorts and world-class golfing, the region has welcomed an influx of hip boutique hotels and landmark events like the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.  Palm Springs has a history as the holiday home of many Hollywood stars from the 1940s on – and is known as the center of “Desert Modernism" mid-century modern architecture.  For more, visit: www.PalmSpringsUSA.com

With seasonal service from December 15, 2011-April 30, 2012, Virgin America’s daily PSP schedule is as follows:

FROM

TO

DEP

ARR

STOPS

PSP

SFO

1850

2025

NONE

SFO

PSP

1635

1805

NONE

FROM

TO

DEP

ARR

STOPS

PSP

JFK

1850

0555 (+1)

1

JFK

PSP

1155

1805

1

Connecting flights are also available from PSP to Virgin America’s Fort Lauderdale and Washington D.C. destinations.  The inaugural day reflects a slightly altered schedule.  

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

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, Puerto Vallarta and as of today – Palm Springs.

# # #

Media Contacts: 
Abby Lunardini (650) 533-7576 / abby.lunardini@virginamerica.com
Patricia Condon (650) 906-8147 /patricia.condon@virginamerica.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 Condé 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)’s sleek and sustainable new Terminal 2.   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.  For more: www.virginamerica.com

About Riviera Palm Springs:  Riviera Palm Springs is an iconic playground of the past, characterized today as Old Hollywood glamour, with a fresh, playful twist. The sprawling resort recently completed a $70 million modernization and continues to inspire some of the desert's best-kept secrets. Premier dining is found at signature Circa 59, featuring premium meats, fresh seafood and locally-farmed produce.  A haven of relaxation, SpaTerre at Riviera Palm Springs features 18 treatment rooms, immersing spa goers in exotic Balinese, Thai and Indonesian rituals. Creating a "re-mix" of 60s influences, from oversized crystal chandeliers and vibrant shag rugs, to Andy Warhol pop art and an eclectic blend of retro furnishings, Riviera Palm Springs  boasts hundreds of towering palms, sparkling pools, private cabanas and intimate poolside fire pits.  For more, visit: www.psriviera.com or call 760.377.8311.

*Fare Terms and Conditions:  All Main Cabin fares are one-way and require a 14-day advance purchase. Travel must occur between January 5, 2012 and March 14, 2012. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm CST December 19, 2011. Blackout dates are February 17, 20, 2012 and April 6, 9, 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. 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 $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.

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 18 years or older who did not purchase any equipment for purposes of entering the Contest. Ends: 12/24/11. For Official Rules, visit: http://vgn.am/PSPrules To enter or to find out more, including prize description, visit: http://vgn.am/PSPjet.  Void where prohibited.

 

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