On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines flew a special liveried plane bearing the slogan “More to Love” from Seattle to San Francisco to mark the official closing of the carrier’s acquisition of Virgin America.
I covered the day for USA TODAY and you can read my story there about some of the details of the “going forth” plans shared during the day – most notably that, for now, Virgin America will stay branded as Virgin America, moonlit cabins and all, and that the mileage plans will be reciprocal.
If, like Virgin America, you’re a fan of the SF Giants, then keep an eye on the sky for the carrier’s Airbus A320 airplane painted with a 2016 SF Giants aircraft design.
The “Fly Bye Baby” aircraft features star pitcher Sergio Romo on the fuselage, winding up for a pitch.
The airline is celebrating its ninth birthday at San Francisco’s AT&T Park on August 20 – when the SF Giants take on the Mets – by giving the first 40,000 attendees a two-for-one Virgin America flight voucher.
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.
In the spirit of the April Fools’ Day holiday, yesterday Virgin America shared its “new” logo.
Today, WestJet and others join the fun with RALFH – a replacement for airplane food carts:
Cheapflights brings up Hipster Air , an airline “for those who badly want to be in the know – but who don’t want others to know it. It guarantees that no airline will try so hard to not look like it is trying so hard.”
And Seattle’s Museum of Flight once again rolls out a unique April Fools exhibit. This year – it’s the Sopwith Camel airplane flown by World War I flying ace, Snoopy.
“The famous aircraft has never been seen in public, and until recently, historians have believed it among the thousands of fighter aircraft lost forever in combat over France nearly one hundred years ago,” the museum said in a statement that refers to the aircraft as “one of the greatest finds of the century.”