Virgin America Receives Final DOT Approval

The Department of Transportation has issued final approval for Virgin America to become the newest transcontinental budget airline. The DOT originally denied Virgin permission to fly through U.S airspace after the airline failed to meet domestic ownership requirements. After making several changes, including replacing one of their British executives with a meat-eating American, Virgin has convinced the DOT that they are not a bunch of tea-drinking crumpet-eaters. To us, they still sound awfully British:

“We are jumping for joy that we can put our tracksuits on and get out in the stadium and compete in the grand meet of the airline business,” Virgin America CEO Fred Reid said.

‘Tis a jolly day indeed, Governor! Virgin America will start selling tickets in the next few weeks, and expects the first flight to takeoff this summer. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Final OK for Virgin America to take wing at SFO [San Francisco Chronicle]
PREVIOUSLY: Virgin America Cleared For Takeoff


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  1. SquareBubbles says:

    This is great news! After hearing about them a few months ago when they were having their squabble with the DoT, this looks to be a very promising airline.

  2. More trouble for the monoliths of American air travel.

    United, American and Delta had better get their collective acts together. With Virgin’s reputation for transatlantic service, this is one airline I’ll be flying when I can, if only to check out how they treat transcontinental budget travelers.

  3. thunderstruck says:

    Congratulations to Sir Richard Branson and VA. If there ever was a chance to demonstrate some leadership, this might be it. As someone who almost won’t fly at all, I might even buy a ticket.

  4. Sockatume says:

    Thanks for not using Cockney rhyming slang. I’m sure I speak for this whole island, and maybe the whole damn archipelago, when I say that.

  5. DJK says:

    I toured their planes and was really, really impressed. The entertainment might be comparable to some international airlines’ options, but it’s unlike anything else offered domestically. I just wish the hub was JFK and not SFO!

  6. DJK says:

    I should mention, however, that it’s a hard switch to VA on the JFK-SFO route now that jetBlue has 36″ seat pitch. Virgin’s is 32″–a snug fit, to say the least, that might not stand the test of a 6+ hour flight. I’m very interested in seeing how their first class pricing works out.

  7. mantari says:

    I smell a new entry brewing in a future ACSI fund.

  8. Onouris says:


    Uh huh.

    Tea… Iced Tea is nearly there…

    Crumpets… English Muffins are nearly there… so these British things are pretty American too.

    Also, if the editor can describe exactly what a ‘British’ person sounds like, I’ll give them £100. Not least because that’s 3 countries that are suddenly the same.

  9. gamble says:


    A ‘British’ person says that they’ll give someone £100.

  10. Onouris says:

    I’m sure they often do, since that’s what we use here, funnily enough.

  11. Buran says:

    Hooray, just another airline to treat us like crap and call you a potential terrorist and have you arrested if you don’t sit down and shut up and be happy about their shitty service.

    I can’t wait to get my new car, far more comfortable and practical for long-distance trips, in a little over a month.

    Suck it, airlines.

  12. randalf says:

    Good news, although I do hope that their Frequent Flier program will let me feed the miles my Virgin Atlantic account; the Q&A response is somewhat vague about this at the moment.

    The key point of interest to me though is to see which aspect of air travel is most important to US travellers – service or price. Over on this side of the pond, nothing but price dictates airline choice for the vast majority of travellers. Just look at the success of Ryanair. Here’s an airline that seems to actively despise its customer base but wave a “1p” seat sale at them and they’re having to beat back the crowds with a pointy stick.

    My fear it will be the same in America. Who will John Doe choose for his flight? Airline “X” with a grubby cabin, minimal service but will get you there for, say, 100 bucks. Or Virgin America who will offer you – hopefully – a full-service cabin but for, say, 150?