Alaska Airlines announces plans for Virgin America

Photo by Harriet Baskas

It comes as no surprise, but Alaska Airlines announced its plans for the Virgin America name and brand and has decided that it’s going to keep the Alaska’s name and logo and retire the Virgin America name “likely sometime in 2019,” according to a company statement.

That’s bad news for those who love the Virgin America overall brand, vibe and amenities. But the good news is that Alaska Airlines is keeping its word and bringing some of the best Virgin America amenities forward.

Alaska says it will adopt “enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests” as part of an overall goal to create “a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”

Alaska says it will adopt some other Virgin America touches including introducing music by new artists  on planes, in airport lobbies and at gates (2017); redesigning the cabin with new seats and amenities (2018) and introducing new uniforms by fashion designer Luly Yang (mid-2019) for flight attendants, customer service agents, pilots, mechanics and ground crew.

Alaska also promises to upgrade the Wi-Fi connectivity fleet-wide, add more premium seats, expand the lounge network and offer other new amenities you can read about here.

What do you think?

Delta outage: cancellations & waivers

Hassles on the agenda today for Delta Air Lines and its passengers as a result of a Sunday night systems outage that caused a ground stoppage  and the cancellation or delay of about 170 flights.

The airline is reporting that most of its flights are operating – but that about 110 flights have been canceled for today.

So far.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has issued an apology to customers, saying “This type of disruption is not acceptable to the Delta family, which prides itself on reliability and customer service. ”

The airline has also issued a change fee waiver for passengers scheduled to fly on Delta today, with rebooking possible through February 3.

Does this sound familiar? A systems outage back in August caused Delta to have to cancel about 2000 flights over several days.



“Best” list of airlines. This one from Conde Nast readers

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

“Best” lists abound. And, trust ’em or not, we always read them. Just to see if our opinions of airlines, airports, hotels or destinations line up with an expert and/or our fellow travelers.

This week we get a look at the rankings of the 2016 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, which has a category for domestic airlines.

Virgin America Plane Decal Mockup Sergio_edited


Top of the list: Virgin America – for the 9th year in a row. To celebrate, they’re having a fare sale.

Rounding out the top five:

#3 Hawaiian Airlines
#4 Alaska Airlines
#5 Southwest Airlines.



For International carriers, the list is topped by Singapore Airlines, followed by:


Air New Zealand

Qatar Airways

ANA ( All Nippon Airways)

Virgin Australia

Virgin Atlantic

Korean Air

Porter Airlines


Cathay Pacific

Turkish Airlines

Eva Air

Etihad Airways




Thai Airways

Asiana Airlines



In the “Best Hotels in the U.S.” category, Virgin Hotels in Chicago took first place. And, to celebrate they too are having a sale, offering a code good for 48 hours for 25 percent off a stay.

Here are the other hotels that made the list this year:

Thompson Chicago
Hotel Emma (San Antonio, TX)
Twin Farms (Barnard, VT)
JW Marriott (Indianapolis, IN)
The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, NC)
Ritz Carlton (Tysons Corner, McClean, VA)
The Surrey (New York, NY)
Hotel Maison de Ville (New Orleans)
Sentinel (Portland, OR)

See more categories – and more winners for other categories and other regions around the world –  here.

Headaches for Delta fliers today

delta plane


Big headaches for travelers flying on Delta Airlines today and – no doubt – for the next few days – or week.

According to the airline:

“A power outage in Atlanta, which began at approximately 2:30 a.m. ET, has impacted Delta computer systems and operations worldwide, resulting in flight delays. Large-scale cancellations are expected today…” 

The airline is posting updates and has issued a waiver for passengers with Delta flights scheduled August 8 through 12.  Tickets must be reissued by Aug 12 and rebooked travel must begin by August 12.

“When rescheduled travel occurs beyond August 12, 2016, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply.”

Friday photos: snaps from Oshkosh air show


Earlier this week I was honored to join Alaska Airlines on a special charter flight from Seattle to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for a one-day fly-in at the massive EAA AirVenture air show. The flight was on the carrier’s new 737 airplane bearing a paint scheme honoring Boeing’s centennial year.

Alaska Airline's Boeing Centennial-liveried 737 on the ground at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh2016_Harriet Baskas

The flight had an all-female crew and most all the passengers were women executives and women holding key positions at Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, Boeing and Virgin America (which will soon become part of Alaska Airlines). Young women (and some young men) from aviation-oriented groups in the Seattle area were also on board – as the plane was headed for Oshkosh to be part of Women in Aviation Day.

I’ve got a story on the day post over at USA TODAY but in the meantime, here are some of my snaps from the day:

Aerobatics during the air show were a hit with the teens who joined Alaska Airlines for a special flight to EAA AirVenuture Oshkosh on July 27, 2017. Harriet Baskas

During the weeklong EAA Airventure Oshkosh, the Wittman Regional Airport air traffic control towere is the busiest in the world.

Some of the 10,000 planes on display at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

WomenVenture events at  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh celebrate women's role in aviaton. Harriet Baskas

Showing off his ride.. This tyke attending the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh may have a bright future in the aviation industry_ Harriet Baskas