Virgin America Celebrates Second Year Anniversary
Start-up Airline Celebrates Year-Two with Award Wins and Virgin America Day in San Francisco;
Thanks Community and Guests with Elevate Contest and Special Offer at Virgin America San Francisco Giants Home Game
San Francisco – August 6, 2009 –This weekend, Virgin America, the California-based airline that is making flying good again, is marking its second birthday with a special contest to thank its current Elevate Loyalty Program members and welcome its one-millionth member. The airline currently counts 950,000 Elevate members to date and is due to cross the one-million marker later this month. To celebrate the milestone, the one-millionth member will win 100,000 Elevate points – the equivalent of a year* of free flights on Virgin America (up to 20 short haul roundtrips or eight long hauls). Current Elevate members also have a shot at winning a year** of free flights by sharing their favorite “Virgin” experience at: www.virginamerica.com/onemillion.
Elevate is Virgin America’s first-of-its-kind loyalty program, which offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat – on any Virgin America flight, at any time. Elevate offers Web-based redemption with dynamic pricing and no black-out dates, so guests don’t have to jump through hoops to find or book the flights they’ve earned. When the one-millionth Elevate member is announced later this month, Elevate members will also receive a special discount offer for travel on the airline – in appreciation of their loyalty.
“Virgin America was launched to reinvent flying in the domestic skies, by offering innovative amenities and top-notch service for low fares,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “In the past two years, we’ve marked a number of milestones en route: first to full fleet WiFi; creation of a 1400-strong team; a growing list of travel industry best-in-class awards; and expansion to nine destination cities. Through it all, we’ve been humbled by the outpouring of support from our community and guests. We couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate our second anniversary than by thanking the people who believed we could change the way people fly — our hometown, guests and teammates.”
For the second year in a row, San Francisco Mayor Newsom has declared Aug. 8 “Virgin America Day” in the City of San Francisco. Virgin America teammates, top fliers and community supporters will continue the celebration Saturday afternoon at a San Francisco Giants home game at AT&T Park, where Cush will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. In special thanks to their hometown fans, Virgin America is giving all 42,000 attendees at AT&T Park on Saturday a special two-for-one deal on flights to any of Virgin America’s destinations.***
“Congratulations to the only California-based airline – Virgin America, and its more than 1400 teammates on its second-year anniversary,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “As SFO continues to grow, while other airports report shrinking traffic – the addition of your low-fare, high-tech service has had a major impact on the Bay Area economy and has resonated with travelers. We look forward to many, many more anniversaries to come.”
With just two years under its belt, Virgin America has much to celebrate with a list of travel industry best-in-class awards, including “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards in 2008 and 2009 and “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards. In May, the airline became the first to offer Gogo In-flight Internet service on every flight.
“Our teammates have accomplished a lot during our first two years, and it is great to know from the awards we’ve won that our guests think we’re moving in the right direction as well,” said Cush. “We built an airline from the ground-up by focusing on what guests actually want and now more than ever people are looking for value in their travel choices. As we grow, we hope that we’ll continue to push the industry towards delivering lower fares, better service and more amenities in the markets we enter.”
Virgin America has proven to be one of the fastest growing U.S. start-up airlines of all time. Since launching on Aug. 8, 2007, the airline has grown to more than 1400 teammates and more than 100 flights a day with service to nine destinations from its home-base at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The only airline based in California, Virgin America has a brand new 28-aircraft Airbus A320-family fleet and has completed more than 45,000 flights, welcomed more than 27 million visitors to its Web Site, and served nearly 5 million guests since its launch. Operationally, Virgin America continues to excel, achieving a consistently high and impressive 83.2 percent A-14 on-time performance for the year-to-date in 2009. The carrier’s mishandled baggage rate is also industry-leading, with an average of 1.25 bags per 1000 guests year-to-date in 2009, versus the industry average of 4.29 bags per 1000 guests.
In its first two years of flying, Virgin America has marked a few other notable highlights:
- First airline to offer GoGo In-flight Internet fleetwide in May 2009, via a live SKYPE chat with Oprah Winfrey and her studio audience;
- First airline to capture Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards “Best Domestic Airline” in its first years flying – for 2008 and 2009;
- Only U.S. airline with power outlets at every seat;
- First U.S. airline to offer carbon offsets in-flight;
- First domestic airline to join the Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization that sets consistent standards to calculate, verify and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
- Partnered with world-renowned chef, Luke Mangan, to design a new health-focused, gourmet menu in First Class;
- Won high ratings in the 2008 Zagat Airline Survey;
- Named “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards;
- First in-flight premiere of a television series with episode one of “Entourage” season five launching the airline’s LAS-JFK route;
- First commercial passenger airline to be accepted into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program;
- First U.S. airline with a “food button” or touch-screen seatback food ordering system at every seat;
- First domestic airline to offer more than 30 on-demand movies at every seat;
- Newest domestic fleet in U.S., which is up to 25 percent more carbon and fuel efficient than other domestic airlines;
- First U.S. airline to offer loyalty member an opportunity to fly their way to a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight;
- First U.S. airline to launch a loyalty program where members could earn points from the day the airline launched.
Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston and Orange County. The airline is one of the fastest growing of all time, with a new 28-aircraft Airbus A320-family fleet and daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, SFO to SEA, SEA to LAX, JFK to LAS, BOS to LAX, BOS to SFO, and SFO to SNA.
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Media Contact: Abby Lunardini (650) 533-7576 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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 is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time and currently employs over 1400 people. 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 ultra-modern International Terminal. The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear. Virgin America now offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the domestic skies via its touch-screen Red™ seatback system. For more: www.virginamerica.com.
Terms and Conditions:
* One year of free flights is based on average booking behavior for Main Cabin flights over a 12 month period. Due to the dynamic nature of the Elevate program, 100,000 points can equate to a variety of redemption scenarios, including either up to 20 short haul roundtrips, up to 8 long haul roundtrips, or a combination of both within Main Cabin for example. The points required to redeem an Elevate travel reward on Virgin America will be publicly available on a seat and flight-specific basis and are subject to change.
** One year of free flights is based on average booking behavior for Main Cabin flights over a 12 month period. Due to the dynamic nature of the Elevate program, 100,000 points can equate to a variety of redemption scenarios, including either up to 20 short haul roundtrips, up to 8 long haul roundtrips, or a combination of both within Main Cabin for example. The points required to redeem an Elevate travel reward on Virgin America will be publicly available on a seat and flight-specific basis and are subject to change. No purchase necessary. Legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C., 18 years and older who are enrolled in the Virgin America “Elevate” program are eligible. Ends: 8/31/09. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions visit www.virginamerica.com/onemillion. Void where prohibited.
***This offer ends at 11:59pm Pacific Time on 08/29/09. The single use Promo code is only valid for travel in Main Cabin Select and Main Cabin; it excludes First Class fares. Travel must commence on or after 08/09/09 and must be completed by 11/11/09. Blackout dates of 09/04/09 and 09/07/09 apply. Promo code may be used only towards newly booked travel and may not be applied to prior bookings. Promo code discount will be deducted off of the base fare. Promo code may not be redeemed for cash. Promo code may only be used for bookings made on virginamerica.com and is only valid for itineraries of 2 people or less. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. If travel is changed to a date outside of this window or if itinerary is modified, promo code discount will become inapplicable and cannot be reused. Changes or cancellations can be made for a $50 fee if changes are made on Virgin America’s website (www.virginamerica.com) or a $75 fee through all other channels, including the call center and at the airport, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. Tickets purchased from Virgin America through our reservation call center will cost an additional $15 per guest per itinerary. Any added cost associated with purchasing tickets from Virgin America through our reservation call centers will be non-refundable. 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 $3.60 per domestic segment. A segment is a takeoff and landing. Fares will not be honored retroactively or in exchange for any wholly or partially used ticket. Fares are not applicable to check-through connecting flights for city pairs where direct flights are offered. Virgin America will accept one (1) piece of checked baggage up to 70 pounds for $15 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 $15. Additional fees apply to baggage exceeding these weight limitations, and other baggage restrictions may apply. Fares, routes, fees and schedules are subject to change without notice.