7 Responses

  1. Andrew
    Andrew 18 January 2012 at 9:06 am |

    “…adding three flights to Los Angeles which will increase the daily frequencies from 7 to 10…Similarly, the frequencies on the San Francisco route will increase from 8 to 10…”

    Sorry, may be a minor detail, but I think your numbers may be slightly off here. In terms of the SFO flights, during the April-May period that VX is starting service, US only has 4x daily on most days, and UA has 2x, for a total of 6, and not 8, flights per day. In the peak summer months, US will often fly 5x per day, but that tapers off and during the winter schedule, they typically only fly 3x day. So assuming VX keeps service year round at 2x daily, that stacks up a bit better vs. 2x UA and 3-4x US daily.

    There is similar variation in the PHL-LAX market. Certain days in April only have 4x daily on US, while others have 5x daily. Once you get into May and the busy summer, many days are 6x daily on US. So total frequency when you add in DL and UA ranges from 6x daily to 8x daily, so it will be anywhere from 9x to 11x when VX gets in the game.

    As for selecting PHL as their next market, I thought it was the most obvious choice from the possible routes they were considering. Virgin’s goal is point to point service between LAX/SFO and major business markets, particularly on the East Coast…so PHL fits that mold perfectly.

    In terms of the pricing, why use a one-way flight as your example? RT’s are much more typical, and it appears US is matching VX at $279 RT (a great fare!) throughout the April/May schedule.

  2. Scottrick
    Scottrick 18 January 2012 at 10:50 am |

    I’m just happy I was right for once. Usually you’re the one correcting me :)

    This looks like a good opportunity to book a flight to PHL depending on how much it costs to get from SEA to SFO. Only had a few connections there, but “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” brings back so many memories of my high school friends’ stupid stunts.

  3. Nick
    Nick 18 January 2012 at 1:10 pm |

    I fly these routes a lot and UA/US usually wanted $$$ for direct flights within a 7/14 day window, sometimes up to $2K. I was often forced to take connectors through PHX. Virgin will get a share of this traffic now.

  4. Nick
    Nick 18 January 2012 at 1:13 pm |

    Now all they need is a frequent flyer program.

  5. Phudnik
    Phudnik 18 January 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    Like Nick, I often end up paying $$$ for these flights (one-way fares, as you noted, can be absurd; those $850 fares are non-refundable). VX’s refundable fares are about $180 below what US charges now.

    One thing VX has done that is smart is added a late afternoon LAX-PHL; it allows someone to work a morning and into the early afternoon and still get to PHL before midnight. Currently, the latest flight LAX-PHL (not counting redeyes) leaves at about 1:30 pm, though there are later connecting options on UA and WN.

    One thing that VX has done that is not smart is not having an early morning LAX-PHL, though this may be an aircraft utilization issue. Until that’s added, I can foresee using VX only for that late afternoon flight, since there’s no advantage to me to leave LAX at noon vs. 9 am or earlier.

  6. Andrew
    Andrew 19 January 2012 at 6:01 am |

    @Seth, fair point on using one-way prices as a barometer.

    @Phudnik, I agree, the late afternoon flight on VX is really nice timing. It leaves about 2 hours later than the last direct flight on US (and that flight doesn’t even operate all year…sometimes, particularly in the winter months, the last direct flight to PHL on US is in the 11am hour), which would allow many folks to have close to a full work day in LA and still get to PHL the same day, whereas now, you really can’t stay much past Noon in the office in LA.

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