Alaska Airlines buying Virgin America

Alaka and Virgin plane

Last month Alaska Airlines was chasing the sun , this month they’re buying Virgin America.

The announcement was made official this morning in a press release that gives the purchase price $2.6 billion.

“Including existing Virgin America indebtedness and capitalized aircraft operating leases, the aggregate transaction value is approximately $4.0 billion,” the airline said in a release.

Alaska airlines said the deal expands its existing footprint in California and “bolsters its platform for growth and strengthens the company as a competitor to the four largest U.S. airlines.”

Virgin America customers get more service into the Silicon Valley and Seattle, more frequent connections to Alaska’s international airline partners on flights out of Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and access to some slot-controlled airports such as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, JFK and LaGuardia.

With our expanded network and strong presence in California, we’ll offer customers more attractive flight options for nonstop travel. We look forward to bringing together two incredible groups of employees to build on the successes they have achieved as standalone companies to make us an even stronger competitor nationally.”said Brad Tilden, chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group, in a statement.

“Joining forces with Alaska Airlines will ensure that our mission lives on, and that the stronger, combined company will continue to be a great place to work and an airline that focuses on an outstanding travel experience,” said David Cush, Virgin America president and CEO in the morning news release.

The company headquarters will stay in Seattle and Virgin America Elevate members will get folded into the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

More on this later…

Alaska Air & JetBlue top airline survey ratings

Alaska Airlines Salmon Thirty Salmon

The J.D. Power 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study is out today and both Alaska Airlines (in the traditional carrier segment ) and JetBlue (in the low-cost carrier segment) remain at the top of the heap in terms of customer satisfaction.

Alaska Air ranked highest in its category for the eight consecutive year, followed in the rankings by Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.

JetBlue ranked at the top of its segment for the 10th consecutive year, followed by Southwest Airlines.

The study measures passenger satisfaction with North America airline carriers based on seven factors (in order of importance): cost and fees; in-flight services; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservation. You can see the full list here:.

Gifts for Avgeeks

I’m gathering up a list of cool aviation-related products and handicrafts, just in case Santa reads, or in case you’re looking for some cool gifts this holiday season.

Two for today:

Jerome Daksiewicz has a kickstarter campaign going to create a boxed set of his runway prints of 30 of the large hubs in the US and a screenprint illustrating all the runways.

And Matthew Mahler at Skyebags has a refreshed line of items – a wallet, a tote and a Dopp kit – made from upcycled leather from old Delta Air Lines seats.

7_Skyebags Dopp Kit

Have a great avgeek gift to recommend? Send in your suggestions.

Big day for Dallas Love Field


It’s a big day for Dallas Love Field.

The Wright Amendment – which since 1980 has imposed restrictions on air service and operations at Love Field – lifts today, October 13, 2014.

To mark the day, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly will be taking boarding passes and sending off the airline’s first non-restricted flight of the day: Flight #1013 to Denver.

Southwest, which currently operates 16 of Love Field’s 20 gates, begins nonstop flights today from Love Field to Denver, Chicago, Baltimore/Washington, Washington, D.C. (Reagan National), Orlando, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles (LAX). On November 2, eight additional nonstop flights will start to New York (LaGuardia), Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Orange County, and San Diego, Nashville, and Atlanta.


Virgin America, which is launching service at Love Field today from two gates, is kicking off the day with a very short “Downtown Express” flight that will travel from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Dallas Love field with Sir Richard Branson on board and an inflight performance by Grammy award-winning country star Kacey Musgraves.

I’m going along for the ride and will share details from the day here.

On the bus with Air New Zealand


If you’re out and about in the Bay Area the next few days keep an eye out for Air New Zealand’s glass-sided tour bus, which is parking around town and giving folks on the ground a chance to try out the airline’s Premium Economy Spaceseat and Economy Skycouch, which are on the airline’s Boeing 777-300 service between San Francisco and Australia (via Auckland).

The bus has been on the road a few days already, but here are the spots where you can climb on board this week:

October 6th – San Pedro Square Marketplace – San Jose (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
October 7th – San Francisco: Fillmore & California Streets (throughout the day) – Fillmore Art & Wine Festival (6 – 9 p.m.)
October 8th – Downtown San Francisco –SoMa StrEat Food Park (10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.) & Embarcadero Center (8 – 9:45 a.m. & 3:15 – 6 p.m.)
October 9th – San Francisco: Union & Fillmore Streets (throughout the day) – Union Street Wine Walk (6 – 9 p.m.)
October 10th – Downtown San Francisco – Embarcadero Center (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.) & “Off the Grid” at Fort Mason (5 – 10 p.m.)

There are also prizes and gifts to go along with this promotion:

Anyone who spots the truck and shares Tweets, messages and photos with Twitter @AIRNZUSA, Instagram @AirNZ or Facebook @AirNewZealand using the hashtag #AirNZ777300 will have a chance to win “surprise and delight” Air New Zealand swag.

Visitors to the truck at any of its public stops will be eligible to win daily prizes.

And – for the rest of us – there’s an online sweepstakes for two Economy round-trip tickets from San Francisco to New Zealand or Australia.
Enter here.