Virgin America connects Silicon Valley to Silicon Mountain

March 15, 2016

Virgin America today celebrates the launch of its new three-times daily service from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Denver International Airport (DEN) with a unique, “entrepreneurial” send-off hosted by Virgin Group’s ‘Trailblazer in Chief’, Sir Richard Branson. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Virgin America has grown a loyal following of flyers for its tech-forward flight experience – and the Denver area, which has been dubbed “Silicon Mountain” because of its own booming innovation economy, is today the number one most requested destination by the airline’s corporate clients. Virgin America’s fleet of Airbus A320 Family aircraft offer a host of innovative features– including power outlets and touch-screen entertainment available at every seat and three beautifully designed, “mood-lit” classes of service offered on every flight. The airline remains the first and still only U.S. carrier to offer WiFi on every flight† – and recently added the even higher-speed ViaSat satellite-based WiFi to its new delivery aircraft.  Virgin America is marking its new service to Denver with SFO-DEN fares starting from $59* (taxes and fees included, restrictions applying) now through 11:59pm CT on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, as well as a network-wide "Mile High" fare sale with fares from $39 (taxes and fees included, restrictions applying) ** through 11:59pm CT on Thursday, March 17, 2016. Virgin America’s flights can be purchased at virginamerica.com or 1-877-FLY-VIRGIN***. 

“Virgin America is ideally suited to serve the Denver area. This entrepreneurial airline puts an emphasis on providing premium service and high-tech amenities that are perfect for Denver’s growing number of startup employees and business travelers,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Denver is excited for this new air service to connect two cities that truly value innovation within their economies and I’m thrilled to welcome this airline to Colorado.” 

To kick off the new flights linking two of the nation’s top innovation economies, Virgin America will today convene a live-streamed discussion on the future of entrepreneurship onboard the inaugural flight with Branson, Mayor Hancock, LinkedIn VP of Global Consumer Products Ryan Roslansky, startup founders and LinkedIn users worldwide via the airline’s high-speed WiFi – moderated by LinkedIn Executive Editor Dan Roth. Virgin America and LinkedIn today also announce they will be joining forces to offer complimentary access to a selection of Lynda.com’s business leadership and learning courses on the airline’s ViaSat WiFi-equipped aircraft, keeping business flyers more productive while they are in the air. Upon touchdown at DEN – which recently saw its fifth consecutive record-breaking month and busiest year ever with 54 million travelers in 2015 – Branson will also show local travelers what they’ve been missing when they’re not flying Virgin America – with a fun, virtual reality tour of the airline’s cabins thanks to Google Cardboard viewers and Google Street View. 

“We are thrilled that Virgin America has added this flight, which will ensure that Colorado's extraordinary innovators have easier access to their counterparts in San Francisco," said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. 

“As the only airline based in Silicon Valley – and given our own startup roots and track record of shaking up an entire industry – we know how important it is to do things differently and look forward to helping keep business travelers on these routes even more productive and connected in-flight,” said Virgin America President and Chief Executive Officer, David Cush. “We are pleased to have the opportunity  to connect two of the nation’s largest innovation economies and build strong ties with the city of Denver and state of Colorado – starting today with our new flights, the opening of our new Contact Center, and the launch of new community partnerships.” 

As part of Virgin America’s effort to grow roots in the Denver community, the airline is today pledging $25,000 in flights to KIPP Colorado (Knowledge is Power Program) for KIPP Denver Collegiate High School students to visit colleges in summer 2016.  A long-time national partner of Virgin America, KIPP is a nationwide college-prep public charter school system dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in both college and life. Denver-based high school students from KIPPs’ tech entrepreneur program will be joining the airline’s live-streamed discussion in-flight today – along with entrepreneurs, from the ‘Virgin Media Accelerator, powered by Techstars’, an intense 13-week mentorship and guidance program launched by the UK’s ultrafast broadband provider, Virgin Media, and global entrepreneur ecosystem, Techstars.  The ‘future of entrepreneurship’ discussion that will take place onboard the inaugural San Francisco-Denver flight today will be live streamed on LinkedIn at 8.30amPT today. To tune in and join the conversation, head to https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-entrepreneurship-richard-branson where you can submit questions to Branson and Mayor Hancock and also hear from startup founders, LinkedIn’s Executive Editor Dan Roth and VP of Global Consumer Products, Ryan Roslansky. The inaugural celebrations can also be followed via #RockyMountainFly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

As an extension to the partnership with LinkedIn, starting in April 2016, business flyers on Virgin America’s ViaSat-equipped aircraft will have extended access to Lynda.com’s full library of learning content.  Travelers  can choose from thousands of video tutorials taught by expert instructors across a variety of topics such as business leadership, development, and technology and web design.  

“We’ve all been there as professionals, striving to find new ways to make every minute count and to be as productive as you can be even when you’re in transit,” said Ryan Roslansky, VP of Global Consumer Products at LinkedIn. “It’s why our partnership with Virgin America makes so much sense as we offer business flyers more ways to easily access and learn new skills that can help them be more successful in their careers  –  all from the comfort of their Virgin flight.”  

“Travelers have long asked us to add Virgin America to our stable of airline choices at Denver International Airport, and we are pleased to finally welcome the airline as the 19th carrier currently serving the Mile High City,” airport CEO Kim Day said.  “Denver, which shares many synergies with San Francisco as a hub for technology companies and entrepreneurs, will fill a gap in Virgin America’s growing list of domestic destinations and further stimulate both business and leisure travel between Denver and the West Coast.” 

Upon arrival into Denver, Sir Richard Branson will show Denver travelers just what they’ve been missing when not flying Virgin America – by offering them a virtual reality tour of Virgin America’s innovative cabins thanks to Google Cardboard viewers on the Denver Terminal A Concourse.  Virgin America is the first major U.S. airline to touch down on Google Map’s Street View by offering a 360-degree, interactive tour of the airline’s unique, consistent cabins.  The Virgin Group founder will be offering local flyers the ability to take a virtual tour of the airline’s cabins on any route, showing them that there is no bait and switch: what they see is what they get when they book a flight on Virgin America.  In collaboration with Google, VX created a national brand campaign “Seat View,” to encourage travelers to test drive their own flight before they take off.  For more or to view the tours, head to Google Maps and search for “Virgin America” and a departing airport or visit: http://www.virginamerica.com/seatview

Virgin America’s celebration of its new Denver service will extend into the evening tonight with its launch party at the Art, downtown Denver’s newest luxury art hotel – with special guests like football icon and Denver wide receiver, Emmanuel Sanders.