Virgin America has launched service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), with daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
With legacy airlines representing 98 per cent of domestic departures at ORD, low-fare carrier Virgin America says it hopes to inject some healthy competition into the market.
To mark its entrance into the ORD ring, the airline is offering (on May 25 only) a Groupon deal, a ‘Flash Flyaway’ via a code on Virgin America’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, a fare sale and a triple points offer good for travel through August 31, via the airline’s no-blackout-date Elevate frequent flyer program.
Virgin America has launched a ‘Knockout Fare Sale’ ‘across the airline’s network with ORD-SFO and ORD-LAX one-way fares from $139 (restrictions, taxes and fees apply). Tickets are available until 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 31 at www.virginamerica.com and by calling 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (1.877.359.8474).
The Elevate triple points offer is available for travel through August 31, 2011, between SFO or LAX and the carrier’s newest markets of Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth. See the airline’s website for more details or to join the Elevate program.
“Until today, travelers flying from O’Hare to the two largest California airports had little choice and few low fare options. We believe our flights will be a breath of fresh air for Chicago travelers and thank the City and O’Hare officials for their efforts to open up access to new competition,” says David Cush, Virgin America’s president and Chief Executive Officer. “Flyers deserve more options than just the off-chance they may be upgraded from poor to mediocre on a legacy airline. On Virgin America across every class of service, everyone has a great seat, friendly service, their own seatback entertainment and status – right out of the gate.”
Virgin America has created 2,000 jobs and carried more than 11 million passengers since its 2007 launch. It continues to grow quickly, with expansion into major markets such as ORD and a new fleet that Virgin America expects to nearly triple in size by 2019.
The airline first announced its intent to serve ORD in 2008, but its plans were delayed due to gate availability. With the leadership provided by the City of Chicago and Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino,, the carrier reached an agreement to occupy gate space at ORD’s Concourse L.
Virgin America’s new L3 gate offers stylish and sustainable design as well as connectivity, with power outlets and wireless-induction chargers near all gate seating. In addition to power outlets near every seat onboard its aircraft, Virgin America was the first carrier to offer fleetwide Wi-Fi. The airline claims its investment in new aircraft and use of best practices on the ground and in the air make its fleet up to 25 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the average fleet flying in the U.S. Virgin America has invested in its new L3 gate to exceed ORD’s high specifications for environmental efficiency.
“Virgin America’s products and services are a great fit for the City of Chicago and O’Hare International Airport as we continue to provide world-class service to travelers,” says Andolino.. “Forward-looking investments at O’Hare have attracted innovative young carriers like Virgin America to Chicago – and new entrant carriers create local jobs and bring more competition and services to the Chicago market. Virgin America’s focus on the environmental efficiency of its fleet and facilities is also a great fit with the CDA’s industry-leading sustainability efforts.”
The airline’s daily schedule between Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles will see the first of its two daily non-stop flights departing ORD at 8:45 a.m. and arriving at LAX at 11:00 a.m. local time. The second flight is timed to leave ORD at 7:15 p.m. and land at LAX at 9:35 p.m. In the other direction, the day’s first flight from LAX pushes back from the gate at 12:05 p.m. in order to touch down at ORD at 6:10 p.m. local time. The second flight starts taxiing at LAX at 5:55 p.m. and reaches ORD at 11:45 p.m. local time.
Virgin America’s three-times-daily Chicago O’Hare-San Francisco calls for the first flight to push back from the gate at ORD at 7:00 a.m. and land at SFO at 9:30 a.m. local time. The next flight leaves ORD at 2:05 p.m. and reaches SFO at 4:35 p.m. The day’s last flight on the route departs ORD at 5:35 p.m. and gets to SFO at 8:10 p.m.
In the other direction, the first of the three daily non-stops begins taxiing at SFO at 6:55 a.m. and touches down at ORD at 1:05 p.m. local time. The next flight is timed to depart SFO at 10:25 a.m. and to reach ORD at 4:40 p.m. The schedule calls for the third flight to leave SFO at 4:35 p.m. and land at ORD at 10:45 p.m.
Connecting flights are available from ORD to Virgin America’s San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas destinations.
Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun, and Chicago.