Virgin America expands with service to Philadelphia

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love Virgin America. The California-based airline has announced that starting April 4, 2012, they will offer three daily nonstop flights from Philadelphia (PHL) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and two daily nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting April 10, 2012.

Connecting flights will also be available from PHL to Virgin America’s San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas destinations. “This is a great development for the entire Philadelphia region, including northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “New airline service not only lowers fares for travelers, but it is also a major economic driver – stimulating business travel, tourism and local job growth. Virgin America’s new flights also validate the strong and growing business travel link between our region’s innovation-based sectors and those on the West Coast.”

At a time when most airlines are cutting capacity, Virgin America will bring much needed nonstop competition from California’s largest airports to PHL. Currently, only legacy carriers serve the West Coast-PHL routes nonstop. When entering markets that offer little low-fare competition, Virgin America has historically seen fares drop by up to one-third. In addition, 50% of travelers flying from PHL to the Los Angeles market now use connecting flights and 45% of those traveling from PHL to the San Francisco Bay Area are connecting passengers.

The PHL announcement was first shared with the carrier’s social media fans earlier today, via a video that spotted the mysterious ‘Greenman’ from the FX television show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” near a Virgin America aircraft.
To kick off the fares, the airline is offering a “The City of Brotherly Love: Just Got Lovelier” sale, with PHL-LAX fares from $129 and PHL-SFO fares from $149 each way.

Philadelphia airport’s $45 million makeover unveils today

Philadelphia airport’s Terminal E got a little makeover and it’s debuting the new look today.

The $45 million expansion in Philly Phili includes seven new gates for aircraft, a 500-seat passenger waiting area, a mini food court with new restaurant chains, and a 350-foot curved-glass wall. Coming soon, a new baggage-claim building with nine carousels and new ticket counters. Behind the scenes, a new automated bag sorting system with high-technology explosives-detection machines will be put to the test, with the hopes of using the machines full time in the fall.

Terminal E is home to Southwest Airlines, which operates 54 nonstops a day from Philly Phili. The purpose of the renovation is to make traveling between terminals easier for travelers. A 204,000-square-foot “connector” building opened in December 2008 that allowed travelers to go between Terminals D and E, and stop to shop at the airport mall along the way.

Who’s paying for this renovation? The mult-million tab comes paid for by airport revenue bonds funded by the airlines, federal grants, and you – the passenger facility charges you pay when you purchase airline tickets goes to these type of improvements.

[via Philadephia Inquirer]