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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Virgin America Announces New Nonstop Service to Austin and Anchorage

 Virgin America, the airline that is reinventing domestic travel, announces it will bring its low-fare, tech-forward flights to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) beginning May 21, 2013. Tickets are on sale today for a daily nonstop roundtrip flight from the carrier's home base at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to the Texas capital – also known as the "the live music capital of the world."  As the only domestic airline to offer WiFi on every flight, and with features like power outlets and personal touch-screen entertainment platforms at every seat, Virgin America's flights will offer a fresh new option that will keep travelers connected and productive when journeying between two of the nation's leading innovation hubs.  In addition, the airline announced today it will offer seasonal service from SFO to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) with six nonstop roundtrip flights a week from June 6, 2013, through September 9, 2013.  Tickets for both new destinations are available for purchase now at www.virginamerica.com and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN* with SFO-AUS fares from $89** and SFO-ANC fares from $199** (taxes and fees included and restrictions applying).

"Austin and Anchorage present unique opportunities for us to expand our network into areas that demand and deserve increased flight options," said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. "Austin and San Francisco share strong cultural and business links, and the addition of Anchorage will allow us to offer seasonal service to one of the most popular outdoor destinations from our home in San Francisco.  For the Austin route in particular, Virgin America's service will provide more options for business travelers who want to stay connected during their journey between Austin and the San Francisco Bay Area.  No matter which state their job is based in, guests on Virgin America can stay productive – even at 35,000 feet."

Connecting flights will be available from Austin to the carrier's Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas destinations.  Connecting flights will be available from Anchorage to the carrier's Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphia locations.  For those travelers interested in both of these new destinations, there will be connectivity from AUS to SFO to ANC.

As the only airline headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and the first and only airline to offer WiFi on every flight, Virgin America has attracted a loyal following of tech-forward flyers since its launch in 2007.  The airline's current #myVXexperience media campaign highlights loyal frequent flyers known for being innovators in their own fields.  In 2011, the airline gave one of its aircraft a name with a hashtag – #nerdbird – in a nod to the prevalence of wired travelers on its flights. The airline's Elevate members have routinely named Austin as a 'most wanted' destination within the airline's growing network.  In addition to being the Texas capital, the Austin area is home to the University of Texas at Austin and a robust technology and innovation sector – many Bay Area employers including Apple, Google and Intel have significant presence in the Austin area.

"Austin and the San Francisco Bay Area share deep business ties, especially our world-class innovation and tech sectors.  In order to facilitate tourism and subsequently keep Austin the thriving city we're so proud of, I've been stressing for some time that we need more nonstop flights in and out of our airport," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. "I am pleased to see that Virgin America is adding a nonstop flight to and from the great city of San Francisco, and we welcome them as the newest airline to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.  This new service will increase travel demand, offer convenient new options for business and leisure travelers, and spur local economic growth. With Virgin America's tech-focused features onboard, I think the service will be well-received by Austinites."

"We are delighted to welcome Virgin America to Anchorage," said Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Manager John Parrott.  "As Alaska's largest city, it is essential to both our local and state economies that we have ample options when it comes to flying. This additional connectivity will undoubtedly bring economic growth by stimulating both tourism and business travel."

Known for its tech-forward amenities and unrivalled in-flight entertainment, Virgin America has taken top honors as "Best U.S. Airline" in both Conde Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's annual World's Best Awards every year since its launch.  Virgin America's new fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft offers custom-designed mood-lit cabins and the most advanced personal entertainment platform in the skies.  The Red™ platform offers guests their own seatback touch-screen TV, with 25 films, live TV, Google Maps, video games, seat-to-seat chat, music videos, a 4000 song library (and the ability create and save your own playlist in-flight), music videos, parental control settings 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.

"Not all airlines are built the same: with new mood-lit planes with three classes of service, WiFi and touch-screen entertainment at every seat – all for competitive fares, our service offers travelers an elevated experience that is very different from the stripped down, no frills service that is typical of many domestic airlines," added Cush.

Virgin America's expansion in these new markets will bring new competition, lower fares and economic growth to the regions. As a new entrant airline, Virgin America has been a case study for how more airline competition can directly improve fares and service for consumers.  When Virgin America entered the SFO-Chicago O'Hare (ORD) market in 2011 and the SFO-Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW) market in 2010, fares dropped by over one-third on these routes.  An SFO-commissioned study shows the impact of new low-fare service from 2006-2011 as having lowered fares for SFO travelers overall by 18 percent.

Service: SFO-ANC service beginning June 6, 2013, ANC-SFO service beginning June 7, 2013

Virgin America's principal base of operation is San Francisco International Airport (SFO), where it first launched service in August 2007. Virgin's expansion to 19 airport destinations has created 2,600 new jobs. The airline flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. (IAD), Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Portland, and Washington D.C.'s Reagan National (DCA).  In April, Virgin America will inaugurate service to its 20th airport destination – Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and in May it will launch new service to San Jose Norman Y. Mineta International Airport (SJC).

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