While the retirement of one of the United States' most beloved airlines was an inevitable blow to Virgin's loyal fans, Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines' VP of marketing stated that the merged companies' success on the West Coast is largely dependent on the aviation firm flying under one brand, according to a report from The Seattle Times.
Following a merger with Alaska Airlines late past year, Virgin America will be phased out sometime in 2019 to create a combined carrier.
The airline says it plans to redesign its cabin to include new seats and adopt Virgin America's distinctive mood lighting, although it will transition from Virgin's pink and purple to blue inside the cabin.
"Virgin certainly built a great name for itself here, and in L.A. and NY, but Alaska has been flying for over 80 years", he said.
Alaska has announced some new improvements for its entire fleet, as well, some of which would be rolled out as early as next year.
"I know that you will continue to do great things, whether you stay on with Alaska or pursue a different path. Build a business that puts its people first".
Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, said that while Virgin America has created a strong brand in San Francisco, Alaska Airlines has better name recognition around the country. Yesterday, Alaska Airlines announced that following a successful acquisition of the smaller carrier, the joint airline moving forward would be simply called Alaska Airlines, wiping the other brand off the map. "I feel very lucky to have been on it with all of you", concluded Brandon.
Virgin America's sister airlines - Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia - will remain, with the former starting service from London to Seattle next week, and the latter starting direct service from Melbourne to Hong Kong the week after that.
Harrison said he isn't sure if Alaska Airlines will continue to lease or buy both types of planes or will slowly ween the carrier away from the Airbus fleet.
Its jets made by Boeing will receive new cabins beginning in 2018 with new first class and economy seating. "So sad", Melissa Kill said commenting on the news. If you miss flying Virgin America, you still have your lovely sisters; Virgin Atlantic is starting service from London to Seattle next week, and Virgin Australia is starting direct service from Melbourne to Hong Kong the week after that. "If Alaska decides to drop the brand - because we didn't actually want the sale to happen - we'll start again and Virgin America will very much back here". But experts feel creating a brand-new airlines in the USA is going to be hard.