Virgin America expands transcon service

Virgin America announced today that they will be increasing transcon service from their west coast hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, adding service to Orlando and Toronto. The service will start this summer (August 19 for Orlando, as early as June for Toronto) and will coincide with the closure of the carrier’s operations at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, effective May 26, 2010. On the change in service, CEO and President David Cush noted:

With strong financial performance, a new ownership structure and growth in fleet size, we’re pleased to be able to expand to world-class destinations like Orlando and Toronto this year. Both cities are major travel destinations from the West Coast, and we’re looking forward to introducing our service to travelers in these and other new markets in 2010 and beyond.

Despite the strong downward pressure on transcon fares, Virgin America believes there is value in these routes and will be operating once daily service each from Los Angeles and San Francisco to the new destinations. The introductory price on the Orlando service from Los Angeles is not a huge discount over the existing non-stop service that United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines all provide. The San Francisco market is a bit more significant due in large part to the route only being served by United currently. For passengers willing to make one stop there are fares below the introductory sale prices. And there are Virgin America fares for less than the initial sale prices on some days. Go figure.

Still, Virgin America thinks they can make money on these routes and they’re committed to them. We’ll see how it works out for them.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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