Virgin America, the ‘airline of Silicon Valley,’ takes its final flight

Virgin America has taken its final flight, bringing the curtain down on a service that, while by no means perfect, certainly had its fans.

Virgin America Flight 1947 departed Los Angeles at 9:35 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, bound for San Francisco, its former base.

Overnight, the Virgin America branding will disappear at the 29 U.S. airports where it operated — along with its online presence — to be replaced with Alaska Airlines logos.

Alaska Airlines, which acquired Virgin America in 2016 for $2.6 billion, will need a little longer to repaint the Virgin America planes, but it will happen over time.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Virgin America liked to call itself “the airline of Silicon Valley” and sought to be at the forefront of design, offering passengers popular extras such as comfy leather seats and funky mood lighting long before many of its competitors.

Over its 11 years in the skies, partnerships with the likes of Netflix and YouTube took its in-flight entertainment to another level, with improved tablet-like monitors offering a more pleasant experience for travelers. It also partnered with audio-tech startup Dysonics to bring advanced surround sound designed to work with any set of headphones. Passengers could also fire up their own smartphone or tablet and make use of the airline’s fast Wi-Fi system.

It even launched a seat-to-seat texting where you could send messages to strangers, though that particular effort definitely wasn’t a hit with everyone. It followed up with an in-flight social networking service for business travelers, designed to connect people flying, say, to the same conference.

And we shouldn’t forget that Virgin America was also one of the first to truly jazz up its safety video, with competitors following suit when they realized it was the best way to actually get people to take notice of it.

A quick look on social media on Tuesday evening confirmed the love many passengers had for the brand. Ryan Clifford, who was taking one of Virgin America’s final flights, said the airline will be “incredibly missed … you were great and we will always remember that.”

Another praised the carrier for being “consistently friendly, comfortable, and fun to fly with,” adding, “I’m definitely going to miss those calm purple cabin lights.”

Even nervous fliers lauded the service, with one describing it as having offered “literally the best flights and got me over my paralyzing fear.”

Another said simply, “Goodbye #virginamerica you were the best.”

Clearly, Virgin America will be missed by many. Now it’s up to Alaska Airlines to continue the good work of the airline it has replaced.


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