Hold onto your winglets! Exciting changes are touching down
UPDATE May 1, 2018: We have successfully moved to one reservation system – our biggest integration milestone. Also, we now have one airport brand, website, mobile app and call center. All of this work means our merger is now 75 percent complete.
UPDATE April 25, 2018: We’re making very good progress with our biggest integration milestone yet. We have transitioned all branding and signage to Alaska Airlines at the 29 airports served by both Alaska and Virgin America. Now when traveling, no matter where you’re flying or what type of plane you’re on, you’ll use Alaska’s website, mobile app, airport kiosks and call center. Plus, we now have one reservations system.
Over the last 18 months, we have been on a journey. At Alaska, we love journeys – to Hawaii, to Mexico, to Boston, to home. There’s excitement in the adventure. And even when there’s a little turbulence, we work hard to make yours a great experience – which is why we’re delighted to achieve a point in our integration with Virgin America when your travel with us will be more seamless, everywhere we fly.
As of April 25, you will:
- Check-in using one website (alaskaair.com).
- Use one mobile app (Alaska’s).
- Call one call center (Alaska’s).
- Look for Alaska flight numbers.
At the airport, check-in takes place at Alaska’s ticket counters and kiosks. Regardless of where you’re flying, you’ll head for Alaska gates.
On the night of April 24, we’ll complete physical changes at 29 airports around the U.S. and Mexico that are served by both Alaska and Virgin America. The only branding and signage will now be for Alaska Airlines. Signs and screens will all change to Alaska branding at curbside locations, lobbies, ticket counters, gates and baggage areas. While there will be some Virgin America painted aircraft still flying for a period of time after April 25, tickets will be sold only under the Alaska name.
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are now one airline – and with our regional carrier Horizon Air – we’re one family, all under the Alaska name and brand. Whether you’ve flown on Alaska for years, or on Virgin America, or you’re new to us – we’re proud to be your West Coast airline with great service, low fares and generous mileage awards.
Like most things at Alaska, we do things a little differently – with you in mind. Even when it’s things you don’t see.
“We’ve been working behind the scenes for over a year, investing thousands of hours of planning, preparation and testing to make sure this transition goes smoothly for all our guests,” said Sandy Stelling, who’s leading Alaska’s PSS transition effort.
Changes come with bittersweet emotions. Just ask Elmer Tosta. He’s a customer service agent who has worked for Virgin America for eight years in San Francisco. He’s now an Alaska employee, along with thousands of his colleagues.
“It’s a mixture of sadness and excitement. We’re optimistic about the future and what Alaska brings to the table,” said Tosta. “With strong operational expertise and the service Alaska is known for, we’re looking forward to providing our guests with an even better travel experience. It’s going to be a very positive thing.”
Together, we’re a new Alaska, with more than 23,000 employees strong. We appreciate the infusion of ideas and creativity from Virgin America, and the passion for flying and travel shown by those who’ve joined us through this acquisition. We’re all working hard to continue creating an airline people love.
As you can imagine, fully integrating two airlines takes time. We’ve already started painting some of Virgin America’s Airbus planes in Alaska colors. In the fall, we’ll begin installing new interior cabins in these Airbus jets. (For a period of time, a guest may board an Airbus plane with an Alaska exterior and a Virgin America interior). It’s expected to take until the end of 2019 for the completion of a single brand experience on all Alaska aircraft.
Our journey continues – painting airplanes, upgrading cabin interiors, installing satellite Wi-Fi and launching new food onboard. We’ll keep offering flyers the good stuff, like free texting and movies during flights, incredible people and plenty of hometown pride.
So hold onto your winglets, it’s going to be a fun ride.