Virgin America goes for Philadelphia Freedom

Welcome – The City of Brotherly Love

Virgin America has added the City of Brotherly Love to its route network and with introductory pricing, making the trip just began lovelier.  The California based carrier will introduce its low-fare, upscale service to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) later this year.

The airline will offer 3 daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Philadelphia (PHL) starting April 4, and two daily nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting on April 10th.  Virgin America is an impressive airline – not only is it known for outstanding customer service, well designed cabins, and top-rate inflight entertainment, but they have the bragging rights to support it sweeping up many of the major travel awards since 2007 and most recently rated “Best U.S. Airline” in both Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.

As legacy carriers continue to merge, its important carriers like Virgin America continue to emerge and add markets to keep travel affordable. Here at FlyersPulse, we find Virgin America brings a breath of fresh air to the industry.  Virgin America has been slow to expand.  We feel the slow expansion is good for the Virgin America, giving them time to build their brand in key markets, but we believe there are many other cities that would benefit from their service.

We feel Philadelphia to be an excellent market choice, as fares in Philadelphia are greatly controlled by US Airways.  US Airways operates a large hub at Philadelphia and has the pricing power to keep prices high in markets lacking competition.

“When more airlines compete, consumers win – with lower fares and better service. Travelers deserve more options than just the typical legacy airline cattle car, and we hope our unique brand of low fares and inventive service will be a breath of fresh air for Philadelphians,” said Virgin America President and Chief Executive Officer David Cush. “In addition to being a historic and vibrant city, this market has strong business and leisure travel connections to California – and we thank both Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia International Airport officials for welcoming our new service.”

At a time when most airlines are cutting capacity, Virgin America will bring much needed nonstop competition from California’s largest airports to PHL. Currently, only legacy carriers serve the West Coast–PHL routes nonstop. When entering markets that offer little low–fare competition, Virgin America has historically seen fares drop by up to one–third. In addition, 50 percent of travelers flying from PHL to the Los Angeles market now use connecting flights and 45 percent of those traveling from PHL to the San Francisco Bay Area are connecting passengers.

“This is a great development for the entire Philadelphia region, including northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “New airline service not only lowers fares for travelers, but it is also a major economic driver – stimulating business travel, tourism and local job growth. Virgin America’s new flights also validate the strong and growing business travel link between our region’s innovation–based sectors and those on the West Coast.”

The Philadelphia region, including northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania, is home to a robust pharmaceutical industry and is an important East Coast hub for biotechnology R&D. Virgin America’s WiFi–enabled flights will provide more options for business travelers who commute from PHL to Silicon Valley and Southern California.

“Virgin America is a dynamic, innovative airline that offers quality service to today’s air traveler,” said Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor, Transportation and Utilities. “We are very excited that our airport customers will now have convenient access to this industry–acclaimed carrier.

Virgin America’s new aircraft offer custom–designed mood–lit cabins, fleetwide WiFi, power outlets and the most advanced in–flight entertainment in the skies. Guests on Virgin America enjoy their own touch–screen entertainment platform with: 35 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat–to–seat chat, music videos, a 3000 song library, an on–demand menu and more. In addition to a Main Cabin that offers leather seating with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, the airline’s First Class offers plush white leather seating with 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers. The carrier’s Main Cabin Select option offers 38–inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all–access pass to media, dedicated overhead bins and priority check–in/boarding.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Virgin America to Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia International Airport Chief Executive Officer Mark Gale. “Philadelphia travelers will undoubtedly benefit from the increased competition – both through lower fares and the airline’s award–winning service. Today is truly a great day for the entire Philadelphia region.”

PHL is the latest expansion for the growing carrier. In just over four years flying, the airline has expanded to 17 destinations (including PHL) and has created 2,200 new jobs. As one of the few growing U.S. carriers, the airline has launched service to Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta and Palm Springs in the past 12 months alone.

Connecting flights will also be available from PHL to Virgin America’s San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas destinations.

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