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Virgin America takes to the skies

After years spent proving its independence from British-based, Branson-controlled Virgin Atlantic, new low-cost domestic carrier Virgin America has launched service from San Francisco to Los Angeles and New York.

Virgin America is playing up the hip factor and trying to position itself as an airline that delivers on the long-lost art of airborne customer service and comfort. USA Today’s article on the launch provides a thorough history of the struggle to establish the airline, the amenities that will set it apart from other airlines, airplane names, and other facts, factoids, and tidbits.

Among the most interesting thing about Virgin America is that it’s offering first-class seats at prices up to 50 percent less than the legacy lines. On short flights, it’s not such a big deal, but for cross-country hauls I’m sure I’m not the only one who would seriously consider shelling out a bit of extra cash for the added comfort.

Virgin America will expand service from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, and will add service from Los Angeles to New York and Washington, D.C., in the coming months as well. It expects to be serving 10 cities within the year.

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