It’s the end of an era in the aviation industry.
On Thursday, January 11, Virgin America pilots will call out the company’s call sign, “Redwood,” for the very last time, Alaska Airlines confirmed to Travel+Leisure.
The rumor of Virgin’s final flight date was first reported by Airlinegeeks, which noted that after Thursday both Virgin America and Alaska Airlines will fly under one call signal. To the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this makes the two airlines one.
There are still a few more steps before this airline acquisition is complete: For customers, the final day of Virgin America will come April 24, after which it is no longer possible to book a flight on the airline. (VirginAmerica.com directs travelers to AlaskaAir.com April 25 and after.)
There will be further changes coming to Virgin America’s fleet of planes. That, AirlineGeeks theorized, will include the planes being fitted with the Alaska livery and the carrier’s next three Airbus A321neo deliveries will feature special paint schemes. However, as the Alaska Airlines spokesperson told Travel+Leisure, it will take “some time for the fleet to all get updated paint.”
But one plane, N925VA, has already left the factory in Hamburg with the airline’s new colors. It arrived in Miami on December, 2, where it was fitted with new decals that read “Most West Coast.” That line is apparently a tribute to the Alaska’s growing West Coast presence.
The exterior of the planes won’t be the only thing changing. In March, 2017 Alaska announced that it will be keeping a few of Virgin’s creature comforts, including its in-flight entertainment. Alaska plans to expand meal pre-ordering to the Airbus fleet and to economy class as well. But Alaska also plans to shorten the seat pitch in first class to add in more seats. Now, ex-Virgin planes will have 12 rather than 8 first class seats, which will no longer be deep-reclining.
Though, he did also cryptically add, “Watch this space…I don’t normally take these things lying down.” So maybe Virgin America, or at least the idea behind it, isn’t gone forever.