What Will Change Now That Virgin America and Alaska Airlines Are Officially One Airline
Alaska plans to embrace its West Coast roots while keeping some of your favorite Virgin America features
Say goodbye to that iconic red, because come April, Virgin America is going blue. As of January 11, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America became one airline in the eyes of the FAA through a single operating license. While the Virgin America name won’t be officially retired until 2019, this is the first official step in that direction. Next up is the online merge: booking flights will be available through Virgin America’s website until April, when the website will be redirected to Alaska’s website. Since taking over Virgin America in 2016, Alaska Airlines has added 82 new flights, including 33 nonstops from the West Coast this past year. With the upcoming changes, passengers can look forward to even more flights across the West, with more daily departures from Washington State to major West Coast cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.
These flights will also embrace West Coast vibes with food that uses local-to-the-West ingredients and beverages including regional wines, microbrews, and more. Alaska’s Boeing aircrafts will be updated with new seats, carpeting, and blue mood lighting inspired by Virgin’s notorious design, while Virgin’s fleet of 73 airbuses will feature more first-class seats and a new 18-seat premium class. Those new first-class seats will bring footrests and seatback storage space, and loyal members will enjoy more generous upgrades. In premium class, you can expect more legroom and priority seating, while Virgin favorites like high-speed internet, free texting, and personal-device streaming can be enjoyed from any seat.
Even if you aren’t in the sky, watch out for new signage on the ground as Alaska plans to update and expand its terminal lounge spaces, with new lounges opening in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York’s JFK. And flight attendants will get a makeover, too–new test uniforms by Seattle designer Lily Yang were just introduced in January.