Tag Archives: Alaska Airlines

Alaska to retire the Virgin America brand in 2019 but will adopt many brand elements

Virgin America Airbus A320-214 N844VA (msn 4851) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 928791.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America on March 22, 2017 shared their vision for the future of the combined carrier, as the company solidifies its status as the West Coast’s premier airline.

The group continued:

After careful consideration, the combined company will adopt Alaska’s name and logo, retiring the Virgin America name likely sometime in 2019. However, the combined airline will adopt many of the brand elements that Virgin America enthusiasts love about their favorite airline, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests. The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.

Alaska has been actively growing the airlines’ newly combined networks since closing the merger in December. Earlier this month, the airline announced 21 new markets with 25 new daily departures out of San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose, California – marking the largest addition of routes in the company’s history.

Alaska Airlines' "More to Love" merger livery

Above Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines (Alaska + Virgin America) Boeing 737-990 ER SSWL N493AS (msn 41727) (More to Love) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936924.

In addition to low fares, network growth and award-winning service, Alaska will spend the next few years making major enhancements to its already award-winning guest experience and incorporating favorite elements of the Virgin America experience.

Enhancements include:

  • Modern, warm and welcoming vibe – Guests will start to see some of the new Alaska brand personality come to life throughout 2017, to create a warm and welcoming West Coast vibe throughout the guest journey. Music from fresh new artists will be featured on planes, in airport lobbies and at gates. In 2018, Alaska will debut an entirely redesigned cabin with new seats and amenities, and has already started to retrofit select Boeing aircraft with expressive blue mood lighting. Modern, stylish uniforms by fashion designer Luly Yang will roll out in mid-2019 for flight attendants, customer service agents, pilots, mechanics and ground crew.
  • Satellite connectivity – Alaska’s entire fleet of Boeing 737 passenger aircraft will be equipped with high-speed satellite Wi-Fi beginning in fall 2018, with the remainder of the Airbus fleet to follow. Both fleets are expected to be fully satellite-equipped by the end of 2019.
  • More premium seats – Building on Alaska’s new First Class and Premium Class seating sections that debuted earlier this year, premium seating will be expanded across the Airbus fleet beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018. The number of First Class seats will increase by 50 percent (going from eight seats in the Airbus First Class cabin to 12) and are customized for enhanced comfort, featuring 41 inches of pitch, improved seatback storage pockets, cup holders, footrests and personal power outlets throughout the cabin. The redesigned Airbus cabins will also feature 18 new Premium Class seats with 35 inches of pitch and complimentary beer, wine and cocktails.
  • The country’s top-ranked frequent flier program – In 2018, Alaska Mileage Plan will become the sole loyalty program for both airlines, offering guests more rewards, an expansive global partner network and the only major airline loyalty program that still rewards a mile flown with a mile earned on Alaska and Virgin America flights. Members of Alaska Mileage Plan enjoy some of the most generous benefits in the industry including complimentary upgrades, award travel starting at 5,000 miles one-way (plus taxes and fees) and a faster path to elite status compared to other airlines. With Alaska and Alaska Global Partners, members can earn and redeem miles to more than 900 destinations worldwide.
  • Complimentary upgrades – With 50 percent more premium seats being introduced to the Airbus fleet, elite loyalty members will enjoy the most generous complimentary upgrades in the industry. Mileage Plan MVP Golds and above are upgraded to First Class or Premium Class 75 percent of the time (based on average historic system wide rates of upgrade) on Alaska Airlines flights. Complimentary upgrades on Airbus aircraft will debut for the first time ever in late 2018.
  • Free movies – In January, Alaska launched a temporary promotion offering its entire catalog of more than 200 movies and TV shows for free. Starting now, free entertainment on guests’ own devices will be a permanent feature on its Boeing fleet and the same free library of movies and TV shows will expand to Airbus aircraft via Red entertainment system in August 2017. Guests on Airbus aircraft will continue to enjoy access to early release movies for purchase.
  • Free Chat™ – In January 2017, Alaska became the first and only U.S. airline to offer Free Chat onboard and will expand Free Chat to Airbus-operated flights in August 2017. Guests can stay connected to friends and family on the ground via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage.
  • West Coast-inspired food and beverage – Alaska and Virgin America continue to enhance their fresh, healthy, West Coast-inspired onboard food and beverage menus. Guests of both airlines enjoy craft brews, premium wines and delicious food options. By June 2017, Alaska First Class passengers will be able to pre-select meals before they fly, and by early 2018, Alaska’s Main Cabin passengers will be able to pre-pay for their meals before they fly. Food pre-ordering will be extended to Airbus flights sometime in the future.
  • Lounge expansion – By early 2019, guests will be able to relax in refreshed and expanded airport lounges in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles, as well as new lounges in San Francisco and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The expansion plans will double the square footage of Alaska’s airport lounges. Members also currently enjoy access to more than 60 partner lounges throughout the United States and around the world.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America along with their regional partners, fly 40 million customers a year to 118 destinations with an average of 1,200 daily flights across the United States and to Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba.

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin America Airbus A320-214 N844VA (msn 4851) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 928791 (all others by Alaska Airlines).

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show:

Virgin America aircraft slide show:

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Alaska Airlines announces 13 new nonstop routes from the Bay Area

Virgin America Airbus A320-214 WL N365VA (msn 7207) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936380.

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement:

Three months after its acquisition of Virgin America, Alaska Airlines is growing its Bay Area footprint, adding 13 new nonstop markets from San Francisco International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport. The routes mark the single largest new market announcement in Alaska Airlines history. With the additional flights, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America will offer guests 125 daily nonstop flights to 42 destinations from the three major Bay Area airports.

 

The new flights build on previously announced Bay Area routes scheduled to begin in the coming months, which include San Jose-Newark, San Jose-Burbank, San Francisco-Orlando, San Francisco-Orange County, San Francisco-Minneapolis and San Francisco-Mexico City.

With these new routes being flown by Virgin America Airbus A320s, will they be rebranded as Alaska Airlines? Alaska Airlines has not yet made the branding decision.

Schedule of new daily service:

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin America Airbus A320-214 WL N365VA (msn 7207) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936380.

Virgin America aircraft slide show:

Alaska Airlines unveils its “More to Love” special livery on N493AS

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Alaska Airlines today (December 14, 2016) unveiled at San Francisco (the home of Virgin America) a special Alaska Airlines + Virgin America “More to Love” livery on the pictured Boeing 737-990 ER 493AS (msn 41727). Here are the first photos from the unveiling ceremony.

Copyright Photos: Mark Durbin.

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Alaska Air Group announces the closing of the acquisition of Virgin America, no decision on the Virgin America brand

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Alaska Air Group Inc. on December 14, 2016 announced it has closed its acquisition of Virgin America. The definitive merger agreement, which was signed in April and approved by Virgin America shareholders in July, brings together two of the country’s favorite airlines into a unified force that will provide an attractive alternative to the “Big 4” airlines that currently control 84 percent of the domestic market.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America will spend the next year working to secure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification to allow the two airlines to operate as a single carrier (with regional sister carrier Horizon Air remaining on its own separate operating certificate).

Today, Alaska Air Group boasts nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations, the most seats on flights from the West Coast and more than $7 billion annual revenues. Alaska Air Group will continue to provide customers the low fares, unmatched reliability and award-winning service they’ve come to enjoy, while offering a convenient schedule of flights to even more of the places they want to fly. Soon Virgin America customers will have access to a route network that offers six times more daily flights than before.

The combination expands service and provides more frequent connections to international airline partners in thriving technology markets in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Seattle/Tacoma.

Together, the airlines offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, including 113 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations from three Bay Area airports and 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from four Los Angeles area airports.

In addition, the combination opens up growth opportunities in important East Coast business markets by increasing Alaska Air Group’s access to high-demand airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the three primary New York City-area airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

The company also announced new flights from its San Francisco hub to Orlando (daily), Minneapolis/St. Paul (twice daily) and Orange County, California (four times daily) beginning in the summer of 2017.

The combination expands service and provides more frequent connections to international airline partners in thriving technology markets in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Seattle. Together, the airlines offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, including 113 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations from three Bay Area airports and 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from four Los Angeles area airports.

In addition, the combination opens up growth opportunities in important East Coast business markets by increasing Alaska Air Group’s access to high-demand airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the three primary New York City-area airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

The company also announced new flights from its San Francisco hub to Orlando (daily), Minneapolis (twice daily) and Orange County, California (four times daily) beginning in the summer of 2017.

To celebrate the merger of two beloved West Coast airlines, Alaska leaders will join employees from Virgin America, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air on December 14, 2016 at San Francisco International Airport for the unveiling of a co-branded Boeing 737 featuring a special, one-time livery painted in shimmering red, purple and blue. The aircraft features the slogan “More to love” and will fly throughout Alaska Airlines’ route network starting the same day, in celebration of the increased customer benefits of the combination.

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Alaska Airlines unveils its new “Honoring Those Who Serve” veterans logo jet

Alaska Airlines unveils its new "Honoring Those Who Serve" veterans logo jet

Alaska Airlines has introduced a new logo jet honoring the country’s veterans. The airline also made this announcement:

Alaska Airlines is flying 23 military veterans and their guardians from the state of Alaska to Washington, D.C., to view their war memorials. Veterans on today’s Honor Flight fought in World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Veterans from Anchorage, Ketchikan and Fort Yukon will be treated to a four-night, five-day trip, courtesy of Alaska Airlines and the Last Frontier Honor Flight. From Anchorage, the group will connect in Portland, Oregon, before continuing on to Washington Reagan National Airport.

This is the second Honor Flight departing the state of Alaska this year. Since 2012, Alaska Airlines has donated over $250,000 in free air travel and discounted companion travel to the Last Frontier Honor Flight program. Alaska Airlines is the only airline to operate Honor Flights for veterans in the state of Alaska and also operates Honor Flights for veterans in Washington and Oregon.

Veterans will return to a hero’s welcome on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. A public reception is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Alaska time at the airport near TSA before security.

Honor Flight Network is a national organization working to transport America’s veterans to visit their war memorials in Washington, D.C.

On October 26, 2016 Alaska Airlines issued this statement about this new patriotic them logo jet:

In anticipation of Veterans Day, Alaska Airlines today unveiled the newest aircraft in its fleet featuring a patriotic special paint theme titled “Honoring Those Who Serve.” The 737-900ER is dedicated to the brave men and women of the U.S. military, as well as veterans of the armed forces and their families. Its unique exterior paint scheme, conceived by a small group of Alaska maintenance technicians, was designed to symbolize remembrance, pride, and appreciation.

More than 250 airline employees were joined by veterans and current members of the military for a special dedication of the airplane in Alaska’s Seattle maintenance hangar on October 26, 2016. In the days leading up to Veterans Day, the plane will fly to cities near military bases, including Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; San Diego, and Washington D.C.

About the new plane

What first started as an idea on a napkin with a small group of passionate Alaska maintenance employees three years ago, has now become a tribute in the sky.

The key elements of the design include:

  • A red stripe and blue body of the aircraft incorporate elements of the American flag.
  • The phrase “Honoring Those Who Serve,” boldly displayed on the fuselage as a symbol of remembrance, pride and appreciation.
  • A symbolic crest representing the Alaska Airlines Fallen Soldier Program to the right of the cargo door. The program ensures a fallen soldiers remains are treated with respect and dignity while being transported on company aircraft.
  • An “Alaska Airlines Salutes” medallion, featured on the right of the boarding door, near the nose of the aircraft. The medallion has five stars representing the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
  • A President Calvin Coolidge quote to the left of the rear cargo door reads, “No person was ever honored for what they received. Honor has been the reward for what they gave.”
    The special livery was created in partnership with Boeing, which shares an appreciation for the value that military personnel bring to the workplace. The companies collaborated throughout the painting and delivery process.

Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER WL N265AK (msn 62682) (Honoring Those Who Serve) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 935223.

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Alaska Airlines launches ‘Paint the Plane’ sweepstakes for Alaska students

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Alaska Airlines is inviting school age children from across the state of Alaska to help paint a new plane, as part of its “Paint the Plane” sweepstakes. The Boeing 737-700 cargo jet will feature a special paint theme created by selected art from young Alaskans.

This is the second time Alaska Airlines has called on students in Alaska to help design a plane livery. The first was the “Spirit of Alaska Statehood,” designed by Hannah Hamburg (below), then a 16-year-old Sitka high-school student. The plane with her drawing was introduced in 2009 to celebrate 50 years of statehood and was retired in June 2016.

Best Seller - "Spirit of Alaska Statehood," designed by Hannah Hamburg

Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-490 N705AS (msn 29318) “Spirit of Alaska Statehood” (We’re all pulling together) (State of Alaska) ANC (Michael B. Ing). Image: 905224.

“With the recent retirement of our last Alaska-themed livery we can’t think of a better way to honor our connection to Alaska,” said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines’ regional vice president for the state of Alaska. “Our goal is not just painting a plane, but to inspire Alaska students to show us, through art, why Alaska is such a special place to call home.”

Students who submit artwork by the deadline will have a chance to win one of 10 prize packages consisting of either four roundtrip tickets anywhere Alaska Airlines flies, or a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Alaska.

Complete sweepstakes rules and entry forms are available at http://www.painttheplane.com. Entry forms will also be available at Alaska Airlines ticket counters in select terminals throughout the state of Alaska.

Paint the Plane sweepstakes schedule:

Oct. 12 – Sweepstakes begins for Alaska students
Oct. 28 – Entry forms must be postmarked and mailed
Dec. 2016 – Design is revealed and winners announced
Spring 2017 – Painted plane is unveiled
Alaska Airlines has painted other special liveries with help from the public, including the “Timbers Jet,” supporting the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer team and the “Spirit of the Islands,” designed in 2013 by a Honolulu high school student.

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Alaska Airlines to add additional routes to Newark

Alaska Airlines to add additional routes to Newark

Alaska Airlines has announced a significant expansion to the New York City area with multiple new routes to Newark Liberty International Airport. The new service comes as the Federal Aviation Administration approved Alaska Airlines’ request to operate four additional daily flights to Newark. New service from Newark, New Jersey to Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California will start in November 2016, with new service to San Jose, California beginning in March 2017. A third daily departure from Seattle, Washington to Newark, New Jersey will be added in May 2017.

Alaska’s new Portland-Newark service continues the airline’s expansion of its Portland hub which includes other recently added destinations such as Minneapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Orlando; Omaha, Nebraska; and Atlanta. The newly added Newark service will be the only daytime nonstop from Portland to the Garden State.

The new San Diego-Newark service is the third East Coast destination from the airline’s Southern California focus city, which will give San Diego travelers access to one of the largest business markets in the world.

The new San Jose-Newark service marks the first nonstop flight between the two cities and provides Silicon Valley customers a convenient new option for travel to the New York City area.

In the spring, the airline will also add a third flight between Seattle and Newark, complementing the two existing daily nonstop flights from the Emerald City.

Alaska will fly the transcontinental routes with fuel-efficient Boeing 737 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER WL N248AK (msn 62469) (Boeing 100 years strong) BFI (Brandon Farris). Image: 933775.

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