Two big announcements came from Virgin America last week and I think they are both worth looking at. First, they stated they will start flying to Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (DFW). There will be daily flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Fransisco to DFW starting in December of this year. This will become the 12th destination that Virgin American visits.
“Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America and a major center of business with strong ties to California — most notably in the financial services, energy and the Silicon Prairie-Silicon Valley high-tech sectors,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush.
These new flights will obviously compete against American Airlines to the same destinations and their dominance at DFW. As Dan Webb in his Things in the Sky blog points out, Virgin America is not the first low-cost carrier to compete on these routes. AirTran tried the DFW to LAX and wasn’t able to make it work. Will Virgin America be able to wow American passengers with their fun atmosphere and superb in-flight entertainment? With Virgin America’s recent order of 40 new aircraft (and 20 more options) they seem pretty confident they will be successful.
In typical Virgin America style, there has to be a sexual innuendo tied into this announcement and I am not surprised they went with “Virgin America Does Dallas,” (if you don’t understand it, Google it…but not while at work).
On the bottom of every Virgin America’s press releases is the statement, “Virgin America is a U.S. owned, controlled and operated airline. It is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.” Even though Virgin America shares the same brand name, the ownership structures are very different with the other branded airlines. Where the different Virgin airline brands were kept pretty separated previously, the second bit of news connects them like never before.
Virgin-brand airlines; Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin America and V Australia/Virgin Blue have become mileage partners. That means if you fly any of those Virgin brands, you are able to earn and redeem frequent flier miles. As a nice little bonus, if you end up flying on two of the brands before the beginning of the year, you can actually win a trip to Sir Richard Branson’s private island.
So what does all this mean? It means that Virgin America is becoming a real player in the domestic market. They might not be making profit right now, but they are improving and have the confidence and motivation to succeed, which always seems to work out well for competition and passengers.