Virgin America’s first #nerdbird flight touches down In San Jose

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Virgin America, the only airline headquartered in the Bay Area, today celebrates the launch of its new service to Norman Y.

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Virgin America, the only airline headquartered in the Bay Area, today celebrates the launch of its new service to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) – the latest destination city in the carrier’s network. The addition of SJC expands the airline’s presence in the greater Bay Area and brings new competition on an important California business route connecting two global centers of innovation in the Golden State. Known for its award-winning blend of upscale service and competitive fares, Virgin America will serve SJC with four daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The new service will also offer San Jose travelers connections via Los Angeles to Virgin America’s expansive network, including major east coast business destinations such as Newark and Philadelphia. The airline’s business-friendly flights, with amenities including WiFi on every flight and power outlets near every seat, will offer a fresh new option for travelers. Today, commercial guests on the very first LAX-SJC inaugural flight traveled onboard Virgin America’s new Airbus A320, appropriately named “#nerdbird,” and were greeted by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson at a red carpet welcome at SJC’s new Terminal A.

“Virgin America offers an innovative flight experience unlike any other in the United States. Our tech-forward features reflect our roots here in the Bay Area – and have helped us build a loyal frequent flyer following in this community, especially among local entrepreneurs,” said David Cush, Virgin America’s President and CEO. “Our flyers have asked for this route for some time and we’re appreciative of Mayor Reed, the airport and local leaders like Carl Guardino for helping us expand our footprint into the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant economies. We hope our new service will help business travelers stay connected and productive from Silicon Valley to Silicon Beach.”

Upon arrival at SJC’s brand new Terminal A, travelers were given a red carpet welcome with a touch of Silicon Valley-inspired irreverence: flight guests were given nerd glasses and pocket protectors onboard. The inaugural #nerdbird flight received a traditional water cannon salute as Flight 534 touched down in San Jose. Once deplaned, the inaugural flight guests were greeted by Mayor Reed, U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, business and civic leaders and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, for a champagne brunch gate-side to toast the new route.

“I am excited to celebrate the arrival of Virgin America’s #nerdbird at San Jose International Airport,” said Mayor Reed. “This new service from San Jose to Los Angeles will become a popular mode of travel for Silicon Valley start-up and corporate entrepreneurs. I thank Sir Richard Branson and CEO David Cush for their confidence and look forward to supporting Virgin America’s success at SJC.”

To introduce the new service, Virgin America invited guests to bring a colleague or a friend along for a stylish ride with a “Double Your Deals” two tickets for the price of one promotion for guests traveling on the same itinerary between LA and San Jose (offer available for travel occurring between May 1, 2013 and May 31, 2013 and applies to non-refundable Main Cabin fares only, excludes refundable Main Cabin, Main Cabin Select, Instant Upgrade to MCS and First Class).**

“San Jose has world class businesses and facilities. Virgin America’s new service recognizes the opportunities for growth in serving the South Bay,” said Rep. Lofgren (D-San Jose). “Expanded flight service like this means more travelers will choose Mineta San Jose International as their gateway to Silicon Valley, and in the process, boost our local businesses and community.”

Known for outstanding service, beautifully designed cabins and unrivalled 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 five years. In December 2012, Virgin America opened its first airport lounge, which offers guests a sleek and modern retreat with a selection of amenities and a space that reflect the look and feel of the airline’s mood-lit aircraft and overall design aesthetic.

“Increasing air service options at SJC helps businesses in the Silicon Valley thrive, so we couldn’t be more pleased that Virgin America has launched this new service,” said Carl Guardino, President and CEO for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “These new flights will provide an attractive new option for business travelers and others traveling between Silicon Valley and the innovation corridors of Los Angeles. Virgin America really focuses on the business traveler and we appreciate their innovative amenities that offer guests an office in the sky and keep guests comfortable, connected and productive at 35,000 feet.”

Also today, Virgin America kicks off a #nerdbird Goes South online promotion sweepstakes inviting Elevate® frequent flyer program members to enter their membership number by May 16 for a chance to win a prize that includes Elevate Gold Status and 15 single-use WiFi passes good for any Virgin America flight through the end of 2013, courtesy of Gogo®. All entries will get a code good for 25% off flights between San Jose and Los Angeles (restrictions applying).*** For contest rules please visit:

“Virgin America’s four flights at SJC create new jobs and generate direct economic impacts, and, most importantly, they provide improved travel options for Silicon Valley residents and businesses,” said SJC Director of Aviation Bill Sherry. “Besides being a top destination from SJC, LAX also offers convenient connections. I’m confident that with Virgin America’s unique product branding, superior customer service, and well-timed flights that the airline will be successful at SJC. We warmly welcome Virgin America and look forward to their continued growth in San Jose.”

The new SJC-LAX route will also carry the codes of Virgin America codeshare partners Hawaiian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, offering seamless connectivity for guests traveling to and from San Jose via LAX. The addition of Virgin America San Jose-Los Angeles service creates convenient new online connections for San Jose guests traveling to and from Virgin America’s Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, New York (JFK and EWR), Orlando, Philadelphia, and Washington DC (IAD) destinations.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.