Today Virgin America announced that it would begin nonstop service to Newark from both San Francisco International and and Los Angeles International on April 2.
Newark will be the carrier’s 20th destination. Introductory fares are running at about $150 each way, including taxes and fees. Virgin will operate three round trip flights per day from SFO and LAX. Flights from SFO will depart at 8 am, 3:15 pm and 9:15pm. Returns from Newark depart at 11:05 am, 2:05 pm and 9:05 pm.
Virgin says that the addition of Newark to its network means it will now serve eight of the top ten business markets from both SFO and LAX. Over the last year it seems that Virgin’s goal has been to blanket the “megalopolis” which extends from Washington DC to Boston with flights from the west coast– it now serves both Washington DC airports (Reagan and Dulles), Philadelphia, Newark, JFK and Boston.
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Given Virgin’s recently well publicized growing pains, I asked, “Why Newark?” since it already serves the NYC metro area with JFK flights. Plus, Philly is only a couple hours south by car.
Here’s how a spokesperson explained it to The BAT:
>”Newark is a high fare destination with very little competition on the long-haul routes from the West Coast that are Virgin America’s focus – that’s why we’ve persisted for nearly five years in our efforts to serve Newark.”
>”Newark is also a massive market for business travelers. For San Francisco business travelers, Newark is the second largest market behind New York’s JFK. And from Los Angeles, Newark is just behind New York’s JFK and Washington DC and tied with Chicago’s O’Hare in terms of business travel demand.”
>”Our service will also be the only WiFi-enabled low-fare service from Newark to the largest airports on the West Coast.”
Currently, United offers seven round trips per day between SFO and EWR using a combination of A320, B757 and B737 aircraft. Looking at mid-January itineraries, its flights are priced at about $375 round trip today. United Mileage Plus members earn a fat 5,130 miles per round trip on this route.
So the big question here is: If you’ve been flying United to Newark, will you switch to Virgin America? Why or why not? Please leave your comments below!
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For a limited period, San Francisco passengers will have the opportunity to experience spacious luxury onboard the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380 on flights to Asia. Between December 28, 2012 and March 24, 2013, Singapore Airlines will pop into town with daily “Pop-Up” A380 flights between San Francisco and Singapore via Hong Kong. Flip through this slideshow to see its famous Suites and the widest Business Class seats in the sky.
SQ1 departs SFO at 10:50 pm and arrives in Hong Kong at 5:50 am two days later. Flight time is about 13 hours to Hong Kong, and with another 3.5 hours to Singapore, you’ll have plenty of time to soak up the luxury and explore the 1000+ onboard entertainment options. SQ2 arrives daily in SFO at 7:45 pm on the same day it departs from Singapore and Hong Kong.