Thursday is Virgin America’s final day of operations as an independent airline.
About 10 years after the airline began operations, it will merge with and operate underneath the Alaska Airlines name beginning on Jan. 11.
Molly Choma, a Virgin America flight attendant who photographed and filmed the airline behind the scenes, created a farewell video, compiled from her nine years at the airline.
The video features flight attendants explaining why they loved working for the airline, a look inside the galley during meal service, and a test emergency evacuation training.
“We were encouraged to be the best version of ourselves, nothing less,” Choma said of the airline. “Unbeknownst to guests, the galleys were a place of refuge and vulnerability where we shared our successes and fears with teammates we’d only known for hours. We didn’t just tolerate each other, we embraced each other’s uniqueness and built a family during the good times and the bad.”
Virgin America was founded in 2004 and operated its first flight from New York to Los Angeles on August 8, 2007. In April 2016, the airline was acquired by Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion.
However this week won’t be the last time we’ll see Virgin America planes in the sky. It will take about another year for the brand to fully retire. Come Thursday, the brand will be integrated under Alaska Airlines only in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration. The Virgin America callsign (“Redwood”) will be officially retired.
Beginning April 25, passengers will notice a difference at the airport. On that day, the two airlines will have a merged passenger system, meaning that the flight numbers, airport check-ins, app, and website will all be under the Alaska name.
Alaska Airlines has already begun replacing visuals, including new crew uniforms, a new livery for planes, and retrofitted Alaska cabins on former Virgin America aircraft.