After today’s big merger milestone, Alaska and Virgin America prepare for more exciting changes in 2018

The Single Operating Certificate from the FAA recognizes Alaska and Virgin America as one airline.

Today is a big day for Alaska Airlines. The company received a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, which means the FAA now recognizes Alaska and Virgin America as one airline. It marks a major milestone in the integration of the two airlines.

Through that work, Alaska kept growing by adding 44 routes across its network, in addition to the 38 routes that were added with the acquisition of Virgin America.

Alaska now has the most West Coast nonstop destinations of any airline, and now offers nonstop service to 42 destinations from the Bay Area alone. And with 15 airline partners, Alaska can take its guests to more than 900 destinations around the world.

What does it mean for me?

Obtaining a single operating certificate will not result in any immediate differences for guests when flying with Alaska or Virgin America. For now, customers will still use respective Alaska and Virgin America mobile apps, websites and airport terminals when traveling. But when Alaska and Virgin America move to a single reservations system in late April 2018, guests can expect a more streamlined travel experience, with the Alaska mobile app and website serving their travel needs.

When it comes to combining two companies, it’s a huge lift and takes a lot of effort. In working to obtain a single operating certificate, a dedicated team of employees from both carriers invested more than 70,000 hours to streamline and merge operating procedures, manuals and training programs.

Changes that benefit our guests

Alaska Airlines offers West Coast-inspired beer and wine choices. Over the summer, Alaska poured a rosé made with grapes from Washington’s Columbia Valley.

During integration, there have been a lot of accomplishments – large and small – to benefit guests:

  • More than 200 free movies and TV shows can be streamed directly to personal devices plus free texting on Alaska and now Virgin America flights.
  • At some airports, both airlines have co-located operations, with more to come.
  • Flyers at both airlines now enjoy a single loyalty program (Mileage Plan) and credit card.

The new year means continuing integration progress. Here’s a look at some of what’s ahead:

  • High-speed, satellite Wi-Fi is on the horizon for Alaska’s entire fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft beginning this spring.
  • Upgrades to on-board menus, with more options in First Class; West Coast-inspired beer and wine choices; and new, fresh meal selections in the Main Cabin to join the popular fruit and cheese plate.
  • Blue mood lighting will appear on more and more aircraft.
  • Flight and ground crews begin wear-testing new uniforms designed by Seattle’s own Luly Yang, with a roll-out across the company in 2019.
  • In January, the first Airbus plane gets painted with Alaska’s colors.
  • Updated and expanded airport lounges are in the works, with New York’s JFK lounge opening in April, and the new 15,000 square-foot flagship lounge at Seattle opening next year.

Every day, Alaska Airlines is focused on creating an airline people love, with great service and value, low airfares and a generous loyalty program. With caring employees and a constant commitment to safety, Alaska is eager to be the airline of choice on the West Coast, and ready for a 2018 filled with new accomplishments.

208 comments on "After today’s big merger milestone, Alaska and Virgin America prepare for more exciting changes in 2018"

  1. Been flying with Alaska Air for a long time and have always appreciated my time with them. Will continue and will look forward to the newest changes. I do hope that won’t mean smaller seats and more money for a decent seat in coach. Senior fares would be great so I can visit my children more often. Also would love to see flight going to Arcata, CA. It is a 5 hour drive from San Fran or Medford from an Alaska flight to Eureka since you stopped service there. Love your specials and use them every chance I can Thank you!

  2. Looking forward to traveling with you both! Please upgrade first class meals to include, Salads, vegies, and liter meals. Thanks so much!

  3. Please can you provide a non-stop flight from Ft. Myers, FL or Sarasota, Fl to Seattle. We are seniors who would love to visit with our daughter and family in the Seattle/Olympia area. Tampa is 2 1/2 hours drive for us. Thank you

  4. How about non stop Medford Oregon to Denver(we always fly United) because they do fly non stop.

  5. How about red eye flight from West Coast to Fort Lauderdale. Then we would not have to rent a room the day before to catch a cruise before they depart at 4pm. Current flights do not get to Florida before 5:40pm

    Thanks for considering this and senior travel rates.

  6. Have enjoyed for many years the helpful, attentive, accommodating, friendly and cordial service at boarding, at flight and on arrival. from Alaska staff. Senior discounts would help me make more trips to visit grandchildren in FCA. Also consider direct flights from SFO to FCA. It is a growing market and your two daily flights to and from SEA on the Bombardier are always full.

  7. I would love to have you service the Stewart Newburgh International Airport in New York State. What is the possibility this would take place?

  8. Looking forward to your service to Everett. Now I do’t have to go to just Seattle to visit my son & grandkids! And I can fly my grandkids directly to me in SFO for a visit!!

  9. I am so disappointed that Alaska will not be offering flights from Paine Field to Spokane. I have waited 15 years to fly from Everett as it now takes me 90 minutes to drive to SeaTac airport for a 45 minute flight to Spokane. It seems peculiar that the most popular airline in Washington State would not offer any flight destinations in Washington from Paine Field. Please reconsider Spokane as a destination!

    • No kidding. The traffic on I-5 from SeaTac to Everett is ridiculous. Sometimes driving from Spokane to Everett takes less time than flying. The passes can be awful in the winter though. I guess it always comes down to profit. I would definitely utilize a Spokane to Everett flight, but will continue to avoid SEATAC like the plague.. Spokane is underserved on many levels.

  10. If you really, really want to….”We are committed to creating an airline people love.” as you claimed in your newsletter to us, then have #1 best way to achieve that with customers. It is not on your list of what we should expect this year. Nor, would I have expected you to either. Here is my advice:

    Bring back the “FREE MEALS”…

    Alaska use to have the best domestic airline food. Shake up the industry and re-intro meals on say, flights > 500 or 600 miles in distance. Everyone loves what is perceived as “FREE FOOD”. If you don’t believe me, ask your customers! PS–we know it is not ‘free’ but make us think that and your planes will be FULLLLLLLLLL.

  11. Yes a senior rate would be great and bring back a direct flight from Portland to Reno!!!!

  12. Hoping that you well have a flit from Kona hawaii to Pdx Year around. At this time you only have a flit in the winter And there is a lot of use that would really like that flit year a round.

  13. More routes please….we love Alaska!!!! Better than any airline. More flights out of Colorado Springs to more destinations. More flights out of Memphis!

  14. PLEASE add direct flights from Medford OR to Sacramento CA and Orange County CA. People should not have to go to Portland or another city to get a connecting flight costing lay over time and extra money. Please go into BIG cities in CA other than LAX.

    • I would really appreciate a price break as a Senior Citizen! There needs to be a flight benefit for our “golden years”!

  15. This is great and Congratulations. I live mid-Vancouver Island. I heard a rumor that there may be flights from Nanaimo, BC Airport….that would be so fabulous. Vancouver Island is huge as you know and more Canadians would be traveling down south…:) Travelling to Victoria is a very long drawn out drive for us.

  16. Maybe instead of getting rid of the smaller 737 Virgin planes for bigger equipment; use them to challenge Hawaiian Airlines for the virtual inter island transportation monopoly they hold.

  17. Congrats on great recent achievements. We love flying Virgin and Alaska.
    Please open more DIRECT routes to Central and South American destinations from SFO! Think of SF and Silicon valley folks tired of Hawaii 😉

    Also let us know how to consolidate Virgin Escalate miles with Alaska miles one to one and easily w/o spending hours on the phone.
    Thanks!

    • For non-stop European destinations from Seattle, Portland, Bay Area or LAX, – I am sure it would require long haul aircraft (such 767, 777 or Dreamliner)

  18. Whatever happened to the old gold and blue Alaska Air plastic wing pins as mementos of a memorable flight? Haven’t seen one in years so please bring these fun souvenirs back for our grandkids especially!

  19. Please say “YES” to a flight between Everett’s Paine Field and Tucson. The slow slog through Seattle is getting worse every year. There are a lot of snowbirds—or more appropriately, “rainbirds” that would be faithful Alaska flyers if this were to happen.

  20. I feel that Mileage Plan Elites should have no-cost access to premium economy seats. Going on an upgrade list just means that you will get a middle seat, if any at all. And I am too tall to sit comfortably in a standard coach seat, unless it is on the exit row.

  21. Hopefully we will finally get more service to/from Phoenix instead of just PDX and SEA. California needs more service we hate AA and SW as the only options to the Bay Area, the LA area, and San Diego.

  22. I love Alaska and Virgin, both are my favorites to fly however I would love to see more offers to the senior or single patron. I currently have your Alaska credit card (with the friends fly free option) however I would love to get a free flight in exchange for my friends fly free promotion.

  23. I flew Alaska Seattle to St Louis and back over Christmas week 12/24-31. That was quite possibly the best experience I’ve had in a long time. I wonder how I might be able to work for you?!

    Looking forward to hearing from you

  24. Thank you Alaska for continually upgrading your service. As a long standing customer, I would appreciate the senior discount.
    Also expanding service to Newark and Fort Meyers. Keep up the good work!

  25. These days mediocrity is the “currency” almost everywhere.
    ‘Not so’ (thank God) with the QUALITY Conscious Team at ALASKA. It doesn’t come easy overnight. It starts* at the ‘hiring level’,with discernment, attitude, and leadership. Encouraging and reassuring,ALASKA. TRUST. From baggage folks to younger Flt.staff.
    The comportment speaks “Quality Assured”.Thank You; it’s always a pleasure to be doing business with You!

  26. I try to only fly Alaska and my home airport is Oakland. Other than Seattle & Hawaii there are no direct flights. Every other flight goes through Seattle. Would be nice to see San Diego, Phoenix and many others added. MX?

  27. The senior fare proposal merits review.

    UAL used to have the Silver Wings program. It may have been a prepaid voucher arrangement.

    You must know that Starbucks has a prepaid coffee card subsidiary that rivals the size of large money center banks!

  28. I hope all the Virgin America credit card benefits will convert to your Alaska credit card customers. These would include early boarding and one free checked bag for card holder and companion. Also there was no charge for any flight changes.

  29. Can Alaska please re-initiate nonstop flights from SFO to Mazatlan. These flights were discontinued several years ago and now require a transfer at LAX which wastes precious beach time…

  30. With grandchildren all over the U.S. being able to fly to visit them has been a blessing. I would greatly appreciate the benefit of a discount for seniors, for myself and others in my family so that we may continue to be with and enjoy all of the children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and even great grandchildren.
    Thank you.

  31. Congrats on all the success and investing in making our travels more enjoyable.
    I would like to see direct flights from Spokane (GEG) at least into Northern and Southern California.
    I’m sure your your aware South West, Delta, United,and American are in that market? You guys need to step it up. There’s not only vacationers but business travelers as well in the Spokane and surrounding areas needing that service. Thanks for listening.

    • Haven’t received any reply regarding combining flights from San Francisco to Palm Springs Current information on Alaska and Virgin America has eliminated most all flights .

  32. PLEASE have the FIRST NONSTOP SJC (San Jose California) to SJO (San José COSTA RICA) now that SJC is international it can be a reality. I commute this route and it is a nightmare for us senior citizens.
    Please please please ????????

  33. Good on you Alaska!!!! I am tickled to think that AA, DL and UA are probably “gnashing their teeth” over your continued growth!!! I would hope they will FINALLY learn a few lessons from you about how to do a GOOD job of treating and appreciating their customers!!!!!

  34. Will you be reinstating the direct flight from Bellingham to Honolulu? Alaska Air has been my preference for years. Senior Discount is welcome too.

  35. I would love to see a direct flight from SFO to Dallas/Love Field or DFW after 6:00 am !

  36. Love your airline I always take it from my home in Phoinex, to Vancouver, B. C. Wonderful service
    Great, love the lounge in Settale. Also I take it to Fairbanks, Alaska .

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