Sadly it is getting near the end for Virgin America.
Purchased by Alaska Airlines in Dec. 2016 initially it was thought that the airline would be around until sometime in 2019.
Now according to the latest memo, all current Virgin airplanes will begin flying as Alaska flights beginning April 25, 2018.
Alaska currently sells Virgin America flights on its website through April 24, but the next day, those same routes appear as Alaska flights.
“At this time, we’ll integrate our passenger service systems, which means we will have one inventory of flights, one customer website (), one mobile app, and only Alaska kiosks,” company spokeswoman Bobbie Egan told Travel Weekly in an email.
Alaska operates only Boeing 737s, while Virgin flies only Airbus A320s, though the Airbus planes will be absorbed into Alaska’s fleet.
During the transition, the company will also phase out Virgin branding from airports and online, and eventually, the old Virgin planes, too. Alaska Airlines’ CEO Brad Tilden told the San Francisco Business Times in July he anticipated phasing out the Airbus planes and shifting back to an all-Boeing fleet, saying,”This company could not be more in love with Boeing, or loyal to Boeing.”
It’s also worth noting what this means for Virgin America’s frequent flier program and its subsidiary products; members can convert their Elevate points to Alaska’s Mileage Plan miles at a rate of 1.3 Mileage Plan miles per Elevate point. The Elevate program will stop accruing points on December 31, 2017, and Virgin America Visa Signature Card holders will see their accounts closed on December 31 as well, according to Nerd Wallet.
In March, Alaska said it would phase out the Virgin America brand by 2019, but added that the combined airline would retain some popular features of the Virgin America brand. For example, Alaska will adopt the mood lighting for which Virgin America is known, except the lighting will be light blue rather than red.
Changes to aircraft interiors and liveries won’t be completed by the time of the planned April 25 integration, Egan said. As such, the Virgin America fleet of Airbus aircraft will still have the Virgin America logo at that time.
However, Alaska has already begun changing product branding on Virgin America aircraft. For flights beginning April 25, the carrier is now selling Virgin America’s Main Cabin Select seats, which offer additional legroom at the front of the economy cabin, as Premium Class seats — Alaska’s name for the equivalent product.