The last day of Virgin America

If you went to a US airport or tried to find it online this morning, you’d find, well, nothing.

Overnight the Virgin America website was finally taken done and at some thirty airports around the US staff moved in and removed every trace of branding, signage and logo.

Quite a few aircraft will need painting over the next few months but Alaska sees it as a priority to get it done, and replace the interiors as quickly as is financially and physically viable.

From hated upstart to admired champion of customer service and inflight standards, Virgin America will be missed as Alaska dumbs down the interiors and absorbs everything into its own brand.

Virgin America made other airlines work harder – especially in the valuable cross country arena. At the best part of a six hour flight to get from New York to SFO or LAX – almost as long as from London to Dubai. It created a standard that JetBlue’s Mint service and American Airlines especially were forced to compete on with improved standards.

Americans are obsessed in corporate culture with consolidation, so the concept of keeping an incredibly valuable brand alive – one adored by an extremely loyal customer base, wasn’t one they were prepared at Alaska to deal with. The US corporate is more about conquest and acquisition, with a blindness for what other options lay before it. The belief that if you have no choice you’ll have to use them, is preferred over any risk that brand differences and offerings really can make the corporate entity better off long term. It’s all about the now, not the future possibilities.

Virgin America will be missed. By fans, by passengers, by anyone who appreciates an airline with a different approach.