On Wednesday, the parent company for Alaska Airlines announced that all flights on Virgin America would be flying under one brand by sometime during 2019.
However, for all devoted Virgin America lovers, Alaska promised it would keep close to all the flair that has accompanied flights on Virgin including all the inflight entertainment that is free, mood lighting as well as boarding music.
Alaska, based in Seattle, acquired Virgin in 2016 in its effort to enter into the air carrier market in California in a big way and to expand far beyond its Pacific Northwest roots.
The merger worth $2.6 billion resulted in a new entity with close to 1,200 flights daily and 285 aircraft. That makes it the fifth biggest airline in the U.S.
Its strategy now has come with big expansion adding 25 new flights daily from San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Los Angeles.
The airline has pushed forward with the combined brand that will go through substantial changes that passengers will see.
Its jets made by Boeing will receive new cabins beginning in 2018 with new first class and economy seating. New seating in first class will be increased by half on its Airbus jets that are from Virgin growing to 12 seats from 8 and that will take place during the 2018 fourth quarter.
Alaska said it is not making changes to its economy seats on the Virgin fleet, which currently features screens for in-flight entertainment.
In addition, satellite, high-speed wi-fi is to be added to that fleet beginning with the Boeing 737s in the fall of 2018 with the entire fleet being outfitted before the beginning of 2020.
It will also add permanent free TV episodes and movies available via streaming to devices brought on board by passengers and beginning in August the screens on the seat backs will have the same content at no charge.
As the two entities see the integration advance, any of the signature attributes of Virgin will fade away. Soon to disappear will be the frequent flyer plan for Virgin. The signature pink and purple mood lighting of the airline will also disappear and a new blue will take its place.
All its staff on the front line will receive new uniforms that are designed by Luly Yang, the well-known fashion designer. Those uniforms will debut in the middle of 2018.