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Virgin America Ends Run by 2019

Airline and aircraft livery will be rolled into parent Alaska Airlines.

Despite an expanded national footprint, Alaska Airlines will keep their regional branding and absorb Virgin America into their brand by 2019. In a blog post on their website, Alaska announced the merged branding between the two airlines.

“After months of research and in-depth conversations with flyers, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire the Virgin America name and logo likely sometime in 2019,” the airline wrote in their post. “However, many of the elements you love about Virgin America will live on, paired with Alaska’s unbeatable performance and top-rated customer service.”

With both airlines coming under one brand, the Seattle-based airline promised to maintain many of the amenities introduced by Virgin America. Among them are mood-lit cabins, which are set to debut on the airline’s Boeing aircraft next year. Additional premium seats will be coming to the Virgin America Airbus aircraft, while first class seats will expand from eight to 12 on each flight. High-speed internet will also be added to Alaska’s current fleet, with retrofitting beginning by fall 2008.

The combined airline will also retire the Virgin America Elevate frequent flyer program next year, in favor of Alaska’s Mileage Plan. Even with the program growth, the airline promises to continue the tradition of granting most elite flyers upgrades and maintaining travel awards starting at 5,000 miles.

Regardless of the promise to absorb many of the traditions of Virgin America, not everyone is a fan of the new airline. In a response, Virgin founder Richard Branson wrote a farewell to his former airline, reliving some of the company’s best moments – from their first flight, to the debut of “Blah Air.

“This was the ride and love of a lifetime. I feel very lucky to have been on it with all of you,” Branson wrote. “I’m told some people at Virgin America are calling today ‘the day the music died.’”

“It is a sad (and some would say baffling) day. But I’d like to assure them that the music never dies.”

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