Virgin America Heads North

Alaska Airlines, LAX - Los Angeles, SEA - Seattle, SFO - San Francisco, Virgin America

It wasn’t that long ago that I questioned Virgin America’s decision to focus more on short hauls. Well, they’ve announced their latest city, and once again, they aren’t going far.

07_12_13 vxseaThis time, the winner is Seattle. They start 3 flights a day from SFO on March 18 and then 3 daily from LAX on April 8. LAX will get a fourth flight on May 11.

They’re definitely staying away from transcon flights. Fuel prices are probably making that a tough market for them. But at least LAX-SEA is a longer haul route so people can enjoy the onboard amenities. Only problem? Alaska Airlines.

People in the Pacific Northwest tend to actually like Alaska Airlines. You don’t hear that about airlines very often, but this is an exception. Can VX really go up against these guys? Their biggest problem, as it has been in every market they’ve entered, is lack of frequency. In this case, Alaska smokes them with 12 daily from LAX to SEA and 8 daily from SFO. That, of course, doesn’t include 19 flights to four other LA Basin airports and 13 to other Bay Area airports.

Yes, VX will be dropping prices when they enter, but you know Alaska will match (they probably have already). This one isn’t going to be easy.

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1 comment on “Virgin America Heads North

  1. I’ve done the Bay Area/SEA run about 40 times over the last 6 years for business. The main thing I needed was frequency due the usual business reasons – meetings running late, Seattle area traffic insanity, etc. It’s going to be tough for VX to crack Alaska’s grip because Alaska is still a better-then-most airline. And don’t forget Alaska’s FF program partnerships while VX has 0. But I will say the 110v/USB power provided by VX at every seat could sway some of the tech gang.

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