Virgin America Announces Routes, Joins Galileo

Virgin America, the new U.S.-based start up carrier launched by Virgin Atlantic proprietor Richard Branson, on Thursday announced it's route schedule and began the sale of tickets, with fares starting as low as $44 one way. The same day, Travelport's aiRES passenger services system and its Galileo global distribution system announced a multiple-year full content agreement with the carrier, making Galileo the only GDS to sell Virgin America's tickets for its launch. However, Virgin America does not currently have permission from the Department of Transportation to operate the services for any issued tickets. Should the carrier not begin operations on the projected launch dates, travelers may cancel tickets and obtain a full refund at any time. If travelers choose not to cancel tickets and flights have not begun, Virgin America will make an effort to arrange another flight, at a cost of up to 200 percent of the Virgin America ticket. If a flight cannot be rescheduled, the airline said it would refund 200 percent of the price paid for the Virgin America ticket. Services are expected to kick off on August 8, when Virgin America will inaugurate two daily flights between San FranciscoInternationalAirport--the carrier's hub--and New York's JohnF.KennedyInternationalAirport, as well as five daily flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles International. A third San Francisco-New York flight will be added on August 19 and a fourth on September 9, the carrier said. On August 29, Virgin America will begin service between New York and Los Angeles with two daily roundtrip flights. A third flight will be added September 16. On September 26, the carrier will start flying twice daily service between San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Dulles International Airport; on October 10, three daily flights between San Francisco and Las Vegas; and on October 24, two daily flights between Los Angles and Washington, D.C. Virgin America said it expects to serve as many as 10 cities within a year of operation and up to 30 cities within five years of service. The carrier is considering close to 40 cities for these services, including Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Newark, N.J. and Philadelphia. On their very first flight, customers can start earning points on eleVAte, Virgin America's loyalty program. Visit [www.virginamerica.com].

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