Virgin America Adds JFK-Vegas and Fuel Surcharges . . . Huh?

Virgin America has been pretty quiet lately. I mean, except for the Superfly Wednesday gimmick, not much has happened except for some frequency increases. Yesterday, however, the airline revealed its twin doses of dumbness, as I like to call them.08_02_20 vxmexicodartsFirst, the airline will start flying from New York/JFK to Las Vegas. And second, the airline is adding a fuel surcharge.

Let’s start with the Vegas flight that begins on my birthday, September 4. Westbound flights will operate every day but Wednesday and Thursday while eastbound flights won’t operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Here’s the schedule:

VX251 Lv JFK 905a Arr Vegas 1145a
VX206 Lv Vegas 215p Arr JFK 1025p

As you can see, this is no utilization flight. This takes a full aircraft day, so it’s targeting the business traveler. While the times may be ok for that purpose, taking two days off in the middle of the week is certainly not going to help them very much. As a business traveler, I’d rather fly one of the THREE other airlines (Delta, US Airways, JetBlue) that fly in the market multiple times daily so that I could at least have more options. And don’t forget, American also flies this once daily. Don’t even get me started on Newark. Yes, it’s a crowded market.

And since this is JFK, they only have a certain number of slots. Yep, that means something had to be cut elsewhere. One of the five daily SFO flights, the one that operates at the same time as this, will disappear that day (it currently shows “sold out” on the Virgin America site). So, they’re cutting frequency in that market and shifting it five days a week to Vegas? What about those other two days? Strange.

Now how about those fuel surcharges? In most markets, Virgin America has been the most aggressive pricer out there with sale after sale and low structure fares as well. So, how is it that they feel the need to add a surcharge? Why not just raise fares? It doesn’t really make sense to me, especially for an airline like Virgin America. Having a fuel surcharge isn’t hip. Raising fares, however, now that’s what the cool kids are doing.

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Leo Meunieratlanta LogisticsChit-chat with Virgin America CEO David Cush about schedule changes - Travel - LATimes.comCFeponymous coward Recent comment authors
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Surcharges not hip?!? Of course they are, now United is going to charge $15 per 1st checked bag. Come fly the A la carte skies.


Brett, is Virgin still having the poor loads that you blogged about earlier?

Chris S
Chris S

I noticed in your bio that you have jumped around to numerous airlines, and now all you do is this blog. After reading this article I can understand why you can’t hold a job in the airline industry. You are clueless!!

eponymous coward
eponymous coward

You know, I’m actually a fan of VX who’s enjoyed flying them out of SEA, and I’ve even sampled the F (by paying for it at online checkin), but astroturfing a blog post critical of Virgin America when you’re an employee just makes you look bad as a company, and it’s not the first time a VX employee has done this. One thing I’ve learned in business is not everyone’s going to love you (99.9% satisfation STILL means one person out of a thousand is upset at you), no matter how hard you try, and you’re better off trying to… Read more »


[…] off-peak flights and add flights on high-demand routes this fall. In other VA news, I read on the Cranky Flier that Virgin America had added a $10 fuel surcharge to short hops and $25 to cross-country fares. I […]

atlanta Logistics

Interesting article.
First trucking companies, now airlines.
It won’t be long before cruise lines are doing it…
if that hasn’t already happened.

Fuel prices change so dramatically and quickly
you can see why they are being added. (Not that
any of us are happy about it.)

Everyone is trying to appear “competitively” priced,
that’s why they aren’t raising prices. But I agree it
sure is a negative, thinking that you have a good price and then WHAM! getting hit on the back end.

Unfortunately. I believe this is only the beginning.

Here is something to think about Frank

Leo Meunier
Leo Meunier

Wife had flight Boston to LAX + back. She was out because her dad died from cancer. Her doctor called and said to come back right away. She had cancer and test and treatment needed to start. Virgin America charged her $400+ to change a $200+ flight. Didn’t want to hear any reason. I paid it off. Next month Visa $100 more. My wife was feeling bad and asked for an aisle seat. Without telling her the charged $100 FOR THE UPGRADE. Never will I deal with this airline again.