Virgin America touches down in Palm Springs

Virgin America touches down in Palm Springs

Virgin America, the California based airline that is reinventing travel, today celebrates the launch of its upscale, low-fare service to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) – the sixteenth market in the carrier's expanding network. The new destination arrives just in time for winter getaways, with seasonal daily nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to PSP and seasonal daily "same plane" through flights from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to PSP, as of today. This afternoon, the airline touches down for the first time in Palm Springs and celebrates its inaugural flight with a red carpet welcome on the arrival tarmac for its first PSP commercial guests. Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and Virgin America President and CEO David Cush will also join the SFO-PSP flight today. The airline's SFO-PSP fares start from $79* and JFK-SFO-PSP through flight fares start from $169.*

"We're pleased to be growing and bringing new competition into markets like Palm Springs and the surrounding desert resort cities.  When we enter markets with less competition, we see fares drop and service improve. This area is a world-class travel destination – and visitors and residents alike deserve more air travel options," said David Cush, President and Chief Executive Officer of Virgin America. "We hope our service will be a breath of fresh air for residents and for travelers to the desert oasis."

Known for outstanding service, beautifully designed cabins and unrivaled in-flight entertainment, Virgin America has swept the travel awards since its 2007 launch, including being named "Best Domestic Airline" in both Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards for the past four years. Before the airline's launch, there was little low-fare competition on the SFO-PSP routes and no "same plane" through flight service from JFK-PSP.

"The Virgin brand is known all over the globe for its high-end, award-winning service. This new flight service will not only offer travelers to our world class destination a new choice, but it will help stimulate tourism – our Valley's top industry. We are so pleased to welcome Virgin America to the Palm Springs International Airport," said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

PSP is the latest expansion for the growing carrier. Virgin America is the only airline headquartered in California. In just four years flying, the airline has expanded to 16 destinations (including PSP) 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 this year alone. Virgin America plans to add 500 additional jobs annually over the next several years.

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"The Virgin brand is a perfect fit with our destination," said Scott White, President and CEO of Palm Springs Desert Resorts CVA. "From our stylish hotels and resorts to our international festivals and 360 days of sunshine, the Virgin America guest will be able to find and experience their personal oasis! Virgin America's new nonstop and through flights from SFO and JFK will also lower fares and improve service in our market, allowing more travelers to enjoy all that our unique region has to offer."

Upon touchdown of Virgin America's first flight at PSP, the new Airbus A320 aircraft will receive a traditional water cannon salute. The inaugural flight guests (including commercial travelers and the airline's special guests) will be welcomed by local officials at a red carpet reception right on the PSP tarmac. Flight guests will receive a Palm Springs welcome with a Virgin twist: enjoying date milk shakes, food and cocktails upon arrival – and a DJ spinning live music as they de-plane.

Virgin America's all-new fuel-efficient fleet offers custom-designed mood-lit cabins and amenities like fleetwide WiFi, power outlets and personal entertainment at every seat. The Red™ platform offers guests their own seatback touch-screen TV, with 35 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, music videos, a 3000 song library and an on-demand menu – so flyers can order a cocktail or snack from their seatback any time during a flight. In addition to a Main Cabin that offers 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. The carrier's Main Cabin Select option offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to media content, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding.

To toast its new flights to Hollywood's playground, the airline is asking its social media followers to help get its next new plane "ready for its close-up." The growing airline's Facebook friends are being invited to submit a glamorous new name for the next Virgin America aircraft. The winner** gets a chance to see their name cruising at 35,000 feet as a permanent addition to Virgin America's fleet – along with a trip for two to Palm Springs, with flights on Virgin America and a two-night stay at the luxurious Riviera Palm Springs. Situated at the base of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, the Riviera Palm Springs is an iconic playground of the past, and today characterizes the best in Old Hollywood glamour with a fresh, playful twist.

Palm Springs and the other cities that make up the Desert Resorts destination, is the ultimate playground for outdoor adventure, arts and culture, gaming and entertainment. Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Coachella, Cathedral City and Palm Desert offer streets lined with palm trees, the best in shopping, art galleries and museums and renowned outdoor dining – all amidst breathtaking scenery. In addition to luxury resorts and world-class golfing, the region has welcomed an influx of hip boutique hotels and landmark events like the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Palm Springs has a history as the holiday home of many Hollywood stars from the 1940s on – and is known as the center of "Desert Modernism" mid-century modern architecture. For more, visit: www.PalmSpringsUSA.com

With seasonal service from December 15, 2011-April 30, 2012, Virgin America's daily PSP schedule is as follows:

FROM

TO

DEP

ARR

STOPS

PSP

SFO

1850

2025

NONE

SFO

PSP

1635

1805

NONE

FROM

TO

DEP

ARR

STOPS

PSP

JFK

1850

0555 (+1)

1

JFK

PSP

1155

1805

1