“After careful consideration, the combined company will adopt Alaska’s name and logo,” the two airlines said in a statement that was posted on both websites. But, they said, the combined airline would adopt the popular “brand elements” of Virgin, such as the entertainment offerings, lighting and atmosphere. Alaska will also expand their airport lounges in several major hubs, including New York and Los Angeles.
Richard Branson, who owned Virgin America before selling it to Alaska Airlines, wrote on his blog, “Many tears are shed today, this time over Alaska Airlines’ decision to buy and now retire Virgin America.”
“It has a very different business model,” Branson wrote, “and sadly, it could not find a way to maintain its own brand and that of Virgin America.”
While Branson was sad, the internet was angry, with users lamenting what they deemed the loss of an innovative airline.
Alaska is making a point to try and appease unsettled Virgin fans “We spent the last 10 months conducting extensive research and listening carefully to what fliers on the West Coast want most,” said Sangita Woerner, the airline’s vice president of marketing.
Virgin America customers will have about two years to say goodbye.