Alaska Airlines Virgin America Integration
There has been a lot of speculation about the fate of the new combined Alaska Airlines after their purchase of Virgin America. Today, the company put a lot of that speculation to rest with a series of announcements. Some of it is new information and some of it stuff that has been announced before. Let’s take a look.
To start, Alaska Airlines unsurprisingly will be the brand to live on while Virgin America will be retired. Here is what they have to say:
After months of research and in-depth conversations with fliers, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire the Virgin America name and logo likely sometime in 2019.
So they have given themselves some flexibility on timing, but the Virgin brand will be no more.
Virgin Lives On?!?
Well, the Virgin brand my be dying, but the spirit of the brand seems to be living on. As part of their announcement Alaska announced what we can expect from the combined airline. It sounds a lot like Virgin in some ways.
On the plane, you make your way to a comfortable leather seat in a mood-lit cabin. For the next three hours, you’ll enjoy fresh, West Coast-inspired food and drinks; Free Chat with friends and family on the ground via iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp; and all the free movies you have time to watch. Not to mention the personal power outlets throughout the cabin, so your devices arrive at your destination as ready for adventure as you are.
It also sounds like a really nice airline. I love both Alaska and Virgin so this seems like a great compromise, although I’ll miss Virgin’s signature purple mood lighting. Blue isn’t bad though!
A New Cabin
As is touched on above, Alaska will be introducing new cabin features on their refreshed airline. They promise new seats and amenities along with new uniforms for their flight attendants. This might not be great for all though. Alaska will be adding more first class seats to their Airbus (former Virgin America) aircraft, however that means the removal of the very good seats they have now. Based on the picture above the new seats are nice, but not as nice as the current Virgin seats.
Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018, the airline will add 18 new Premium Class seats to Airbus aircraft, as well as adding first class seats (going from eight seats to 12) customized for enhanced comfort: 41 inches of pitch, improved seatback storage pockets, cup holders, footrests and personal power outlets throughout the cabin.
Alaska has also committed to replacing their current slower internet offering with satellite high speed internet by 2019. The satellite retrofit will begin in 2018 with their existing Boeing aircraft and finish by the end of 2019 with their Airbus fleet.
- MileagePlan will be the surviving rewards program. (This was previously announced as well.)
- Free upgrades will be coming to their Airbus Fleet (former Virgin) in late 2018. I do wish this would come sooner though.
- Free movies will expand to Virgin’s Red entertainment system on Airbus aircraft in late 2017. Movies will continue to be free on your own device on Alaska Airlines Boeing flights.
- Alaska will be expanding their lounges in Seattle, Los Angeles and Portland along with building new lounges in San Francisco and JFK since they most likely won’t have access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses.
You can find the details of all of the announced changes here. What are your thoughts?