Virgin America To Fly into Underutilized Neighbor

Departure Board at San Jose Airport

Departure Board at San Jose Norman Y Mineta International Airport

Virgin America Newest Airline at Silicon Valley’s San Jose Mineta International

February 4, 2013 – (Louisville, KY): Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC) is under-served yet has one of the best on-time rankings. On the other hand, Virgin America’s home and hub at nearby San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is often plagued with rain and fog.

The airline isn’t a stranger to the area either, its innovative roots can be traced to The Valley.

Virgin America, like Japan’s All Nippon Airways, has found opportunity at Silicon Valley’s San Jose International Airport (SJC) and will launch four daily flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) starting May 1, 2013. The carrier will operate out of gate 14 in the A concourse located next to The Club at SJC, a new VIP Lounge open to all airline passengers.

Tickets for the new flights will go on sale tomorrow, February 5, and may be purchased from directly from Virgin America or online via our flight booking engine in the upper right corner.

The Club at SJC

The Club at SJC - VIP Airport Lounge Across from A15.

The Club at SJC – VIP Airport Lounge Across from gate A15.

The Club at SJC is a quiet lounge offering hot food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, as well as a host of other amenities frequent travelers seek out. Have a special request? Ask the dedicated front desk staff for assistance.

Have a bite to eat while you kick back and enjoy a drink in a pleasant atmosphere, away from the noise of the airport departures area. The lounge is also a great, quiet place for productivity with easy access to power outlets and complimentary WiFi.

The Club at SJC opened on January 11, 2013, with ANA’s inaugural flight to Tokyo-Narita. While ANA’s flight is temporarily on hold as a result of the 787 groundings, The Club at SJC is open for business.

I had the opportunity to visit The Club at SJC when I flew ANA on the Tokyo non-stop and was pleased with the club between their comfortable seating and food/drink selections.

Hours of operation are from 5:00am until 10:00pm.

The Club at SJC is a member of thePriority Passprogram which providers travelers with access to over 500 VIP airport lounges worldwide.

San Jose Works to Attract New Flights

Los Angeles is a route in high demand among San Jose business leaders according to Kim Walesh, San Jose’s Director of Economic Development. Walesh is one of many working to increase air service at San Jose’s Airport for Silicon Valley area businesses and residents. Waelsh said, “Virgin gives us traction”, when I spoke to her today about the potential for new non-stops at San Jose’s airport.

While Los Angeles remains a top destination, non-stop flights to Washington, DC, New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta are all highly demanded among the San Jose business community.

Virgin America will provide connecting service to passengers from San Jose via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to an array of popular destinations. Several of the high demand destinations are included, with connections to Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Newark (EWR), New York City (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington, DC (IAD), and Cancun (CUN).

Virgin America’s Sleek A320 Aircraft Features

Sporty Interior of Virgin America A320 Cabins

Sleek and Sporty Interior Cabin of Virgin America A320 with RED seatback TV units

The new Virgin America flights between San Jose and Los Angeles will operate using new Airbus A320 aircraft which seat upto 149. The flights will operate from San Jose’s two 11,000 foot runways which take in the California sun with over 300 days of sunlight received in Silicon Valley each year.

Virgin America aircraft are nicely appointed with leather seating, mood lighting and RED, Virgin’s Audio/Video On Demand System (AVOD). The RED system includes 9-inch video touch-screens and qwerty keyboard/remote controls at every seat. You can watch over 25 on-demand movies as well as 24 channels of live satellite TV.

Enjoy features like seat-to-seat chat messaging and track your journey with interactive Google Maps. Using the interactive maps, you’ll be able to track journey progress with eight levels of zoom.

The Virgin designed interiors are sleek yet high-tech and the one-of-a-kind mood lighting, with twelve shades of light, changes colors depending on the time of day to help offset jetlag travelers often encounter on trans-continental routes.

To stay plugged in, aircraft are fit with 110v power outlets, USB and RJ-45 ethernet jacks near every seat. Once plugged in, each aircraft is equipped with GoGo WiFi Internet access so that you’re always connected to the net, with the exception of take-off, landing, and flight under 10,000 feet.

Virgin America A320 Aircraft at SFO on a rainy day

Virgin America A320 Aircraft at San Francisco International Airport on a rainy day.

San Jose Mayor Reed and Virgin America CEO David Cush comment on new flights

San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed said, “As an innovator, Virgin America will find great support in the world’s center of innovation. Silicon Valley is leading the country in job creation, and Virgin America’s new service will support our job growth with convenient and efficient air service. We appreciate the confidence shown by David Cush and his team, and we are enthusiastic about working with them to support Virgin America’s investment at SJC.”

In a prepared statement, Virgin America President and CEO said, “San Jose International Airport is important for Silicon Valley business travelers and it deserves more flight options.” Cush added, “As an airline known for amenities that keep travelers connected and productive in the skies, we hope our flights can offer some healthy competition and a better choice for the Bay’s entrepreneurs and business travelers. We are appreciative of the efforts of Mayor Chuck Reed, Airport Director Bill Sherry and Carl Guardino from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who were instrumental in making this happen and who had the vision and persistence to push for increased air service options for San Jose and the South Bay region.”

The new route should help foster competition as Virgin America takes Southwest Airlines head-on in the Los Angeles market. Four airlines, Alaska, American, Southwest, and United currently operate 19 daily nonstop flights; Three of carriers use smaller regional aircraft while Southwest uses a full-sized Boeing 737. All of these flights might sound like a lot of capacity, but it isn’t when you factor in the smaller regional aircraft. The four new non-stops Virgin America brings to the market will provide consumers with a full-service choice on a full-sized jet aircraft.

Best yet, no more treks up the 101 in heavy traffic with departures direct from Silicon Valley’s San Jose airport.

Innovative Airline Meets San Jose’s State of the Art Airport

New Arrivals Area at SJC Airport

New Arrivals Area at SJC Airport – Terminal B

San Jose’s Mineta International Airport went through an airport modernization project which finished in 2010. The project included the building of Terminal B and modernization of Terminal A along with a new rental car center and new concessions.

Virgin America, an airline which prides itself on technology and innovation will fit right in at San Jose’s airport. In fact, Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said, “Our member companies told us loud and clear that increasing air service options at SJC will directly help their businesses thrive. Our innovation-based economy here in the Valley is dependent on staying connected, so we couldn’t be more pleased that Virgin America has decided to offer new nonstop daily flights from SJC.” Guardino added, “With tech-forward service that is a unique reflection of the airline’s roots here in the Valley, Virgin America is a perfect fit for San Jose. Just as our regional economy has changed how people live and do business all over the world – our hometown airline has changed how people fly.”

SJC provides free WiFi access as well as plentiful power outlets for technology savvy travelers.

Simply put, the airport is modern and user-friendly.

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