Alaska Airlines is killing off the Virgin America brand
It was all but inevitable that the Virgin America brand wouldn’t survive its merger with Alaska Airlines.
Sure enough, the parent company announced Wednesday that all Virgin America flights will become Alaska Airlines flights, likely sometime in 2019.
But don’t despair, Virgin America groupies: Alaska promised that it will keep much of the “flair” that accompanied Virgin flights, including all that free in-flight entertainment, mood lighting and music. It also plans on adding more premium seats, satellite connectivity and an enhanced frequent-flier program on all Alaska flights over the next couple years.
“The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe,” Alaska Airlines said in a press release.
Although Virgin America gained a solid following of die-hard enthusiasts, Alaska Airlines continues to rank highly in customer satisfaction, topping all airlines in JD Power’s list last year.
Alaska bought Virgin last year in an effort to bust into the California market in a major way. It’s done that, adding 25 new daily flights out of San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose last year.
But Virgin wasn’t going to stick around forever: Alaska Airlines didn’t want to pay license fees on the Virgin brand indefinitely.
“While the Virgin America name is beloved to many, we concluded that to be successful on the West Coast we had to do so under one name – for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing, in a statement.
The $2.6 billion merger resulted in a combined airline with nearly 1,200 daily flights and 286 aircraft, making it the United States’ fifth largest airline.