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Virgin America headed to Chicago. Boston next?

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  May 12, 2008 11:07 AM

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High-profile discounter Virgin America said today that it would move to start service to Chicago's O'Hare, which would be its eighth destination since launching in August.
Virgin, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson -- he of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Records fame -- says it will file for government permission to fly four daily flights both to San Francisco and LA, starting in November, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Virgin has drawn significant consumer interest because of its lower fares and on-board amenities like leather seats, help-yourself minibars, seatback satellite TV, pay-per-view movies, and libraries of mp3 files so travelers can make and enjoy their own playlists. But the carrier, which appears to have deep pockets, has also drawn media attention because of its aggressive expansion at a time when other competitors are struggling and making cuts.
OK, that's all very interesting, but what does this mean to you? Virgin, which now serves seven cities -- San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Seattle -- has said that it was planning to add two cities east of the Mississippi this year. And in a February interview, Virgin CEO David Cush hinted that the lucky two could be Chicago and Boston, saying the carrier favored cities with large business centers.
But today Abby Lunardini, Virgin America director of corporate communications, said that the two cities the airline planned to go into were Chicago and Newark, N.J., but that plans for Newark got shelved because of government rules aimed at curbing air traffic in the New York area.
Lunardini said that Virgin probably would not open up any other Eastern cities this year after being waved off Newark. But she said that right now, "Boston is at the top of the list.''
Stay tuned.

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27 comments so far...
  1. Why would they not go with NY over Boston?

    Posted by Matt May 12, 08 12:26 PM
  1. New York is saturated and has worse delay problems than Boston. We're a rich, high travel city without as comprehensive a route list. If we have JetBlue and VirginAmerica in Boston, we'll be a darn good travel city!

    Posted by JD May 12, 08 12:42 PM
  1. They already go to NY, see above.

    Posted by Kate May 12, 08 12:42 PM
  1. Because NY was the first.

    Posted by dbos May 12, 08 12:42 PM
  1. Because they already serve ny as the blurb mentions...

    Posted by john May 12, 08 12:43 PM
  1. Because they already fly to New York. RTFA

    Posted by Eileen May 12, 08 12:45 PM
  1. The article says how they already serve NYC. Reading comprehension.

    Posted by PD May 12, 08 12:53 PM
  1. they're already in NY, matt

    Posted by dan May 12, 08 12:58 PM
  1. Because they already serve it.

    Posted by Doug May 12, 08 01:09 PM
  1. They already Serve New York (JFK).

    Posted by Patrick May 12, 08 01:10 PM
  1. HEY MATT,
    WHEN YOU READ THE GLOBE TRY AND READ IT MORON. IT SAYS Virgin, which now serves seven cities -- San Francisco, Los Angeles,
    New York, Las Vegas, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Seattle -- has said that it was planning to add two cities east of the Mississippi this year."...MAN I WISH I COULD READ THAT IT WAS ALREADY IN NY. OH WAIT I DID READ THAT.

    Posted by MIKE May 12, 08 01:11 PM
  1. because boston has friendlier and more intelligent individuals

    Posted by Dan May 12, 08 01:16 PM
  1. Cause Virgin already flies out of JFK.

    Posted by kevin May 12, 08 01:26 PM
  1. Because the Yankees suck!

    Posted by Roger May 12, 08 01:27 PM
  1. Does anyon eknow if Virgin serves NYC already ???

    Posted by redsonationwest May 12, 08 01:33 PM
  1. Yeah, they should fly to NY too

    Posted by Can't Read May 12, 08 01:44 PM
  1. Im confused...does Virgin America fly to NYC?

    Posted by LM May 12, 08 03:08 PM
  1. If they flew to New York it would be wonderful.

    Posted by Mike May 12, 08 03:42 PM
  1. CEO David Cush, not David Curb

    Posted by Me =0) May 12, 08 04:08 PM
  1. Matt must be under 30 years of age....

    Posted by MattMac May 12, 08 04:14 PM
  1. They should add Boston because the RED SOX are #1!!!!!! Look up in the standings skankee fans lmao!!!

    Posted by Boston Kev May 12, 08 04:18 PM
  1. Whole lotta empty gates they could fly into to Dallas and take on American ... wish they would

    Posted by JC May 12, 08 04:54 PM
  1. what routes would they fly out of Boston? any idea?

    Posted by hillary berkley May 12, 08 06:55 PM
  1. I don't give Virgin America more than six months before it goes out of business. The carrier has no fuel heges, not corporate accounts, no frequent flyer program to speak of, no code share agreements, fno VIP lounges, few flights and flys out of the most weather conjested airport in the country -- San Franciso. Business travelers are not going to choose Virgin for mood lighting. According to Richard Branson, Virgin's systemwide load factor is only 65 percent. Carriers with 80 percent plus load factors are losing money in this enviroment. Despite what the carrier says, I think it is bleeding cash badly. Going up against United and Amercan in Chicago is a desperation move.

    Just another start up that's trying to grow too fast.

    Posted by Sandy Harris May 13, 08 11:51 AM
  1. hillary berkley

    Virgin America would likely add Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) with 2 daily flights to each city.
    Sandy Harris

    Virgin America does have a frequent flyer program called elaVAte. Also, some business travelers might choose Virgin America for its First Class and meal service. But you're right about everything else except Chicago. UA and AA fly crummy, older jets on that route. There's no jetBlue or Southwest to speak of (Southwest serves Chicago Midway). Plus, United is too busy trying to merger with somebody (anybody!) to care. If they can get the slots, (jetBlue had to halve their initial request for slots there), they'll probably do better than up against jetBlue and Southwest.

    Posted by Zack Rules May 15, 08 04:45 PM
  1. jet blue does fly to ord

    Posted by flynow1 May 16, 08 01:55 AM
  1. What happened to Atlanta?

    Posted by ron August 31, 09 03:16 PM
 
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