Virgin America, the California-based airline that is reinventing domestic travel, today announces it will bring its low-fare, upscale service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), with daily nonstop flights from both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting May 25, 2011. Known for its beautifully designed cabins and high-tech amenities, Virgin America has been winning over consumers and sweeping the major travel awards since its August 2007 launch – including capturing the “Best Domestic Airline” title in both Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards for the past three consecutive years. With legacy airlines representing 98 percent of domestic departures at ORD, Virgin America hopes to inject some healthy competition into the market.
“Until today, travelers flying from O’Hare to SFO or LAX had little choice and few low fare options. With unrivalled service and new planes that look like nothing else in the skies, we hope our flights will be a breath of fresh air for Chicago travelers,” said Virgin America President and Chief Executive Officer David Cush. “When more airlines compete, consumers tend to win – with lower fares and better service. Mayor Daley and the airport have shown tremendous vision by investing in ORD’s future and by helping to open up access to new competition.”
Virgin America originally announced its intent to serve ORD in 2008, but its plans were delayed due to gate availability. Through the leadership provided by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and ORD Airport Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino, the airline reached an agreement to occupy gate space at ORD’s now vacated Concourse L.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Virgin America to Chicago O’Hare,” said Mayor Daley. “O’Hare is one of the world’s busiest travel hubs, and our air transport infrastructure continues to play a critical role in our region’s economic future. New airline service stimulates travel demand and job growth – and is a powerful economic driver, especially when linking major business centers like Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Our investment to help bring new airline competition to ORD will not only stimulate economic growth, it will directly benefit travelers by lowering fares and improving service.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Virgin America to O’Hare,” said Airport Commissioner Andolino. “Our passengers will see a big benefit from the increased competition and from Virgin America’s low fare, innovative service.”
Virgin America’s Main Cabin ORD fares start from $99*(restrictions, taxes and fees applying) and are on sale today on the airline’s Web site (www.virginamerica.com) and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).** To kick off its new Windy City service, the airline is teaming up with the Chicago-based Groupon for today’s Featured Deal that will give Groupon-subscribers in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco the chance to purchase a $7 Groupon good for $77 in air fare for a roundtrip purchase on Virgin America’s new ORD routes.*** When more than 25 people accept the offer, thousands of “Grouponistas” will score an incredible deal on the airline’s new ORD flights. The offer for travel on the tech-forward new airline is the first Featured Deal that Groupon has launched solely for air travel. For more, visit: http://www.groupon.com/deals/virgin-america-chicago
With outstanding service and a host of inventive amenities, Virgin America has captured a loyal business and leisure travel following. The airline’s new Airbus A320 Family aircraft feature beautifully designed mood-lit cabins, standard power outlets near every seat and comfortable leather seating. The Red™ in-flight entertainment platform offers every guest their own seat-back touch-screen with 30 on-demand films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, music videos, a 3000 MP3 catalog and an on-demand menu – so flyers can order a cocktail or meal right from their seatback any time during a flight. In May 2009, the airline became the first to offer Gogo™ WiFi on every flight – via its partnership with the Illinois-based Aircell. The carrier marked that milestone with the first air-to-ground SKYPE chat from a plane at 35,000 feet to Oprah Winfrey and her studio audience.
In addition to a Main Cabin that offers every traveler a personal touch-screen entertainment platform, power outlets and custom-designed 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. Virgin America’s Main Cabin Select option offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to the Red system’s countless media options, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding.
“Travelers deserve more options than just the off-chance they will be able to upgrade from poor to average on a legacy airline. On Virgin America, across every class of service – everyone has a great seat, their own seatback entertainment and status – right out of the gate,” added Cush.
Connecting flights will also be available from ORD to Virgin America’s San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas destinations.