Virgin America Ranks No. 1 in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards


    
    New Airline Takes Top Honors from Readers as Best Domestic Airline for
    Third Consecutive Year





    
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<p><span class="xn-location">SAN FRANCISCO</span>, <span class="xn-chron">July 8</span> /CNW/ -- Virgin America, the California-based airline that is reinventing travel, today took the top honors for the third year running as "Best Domestic Airline" in the prestigious Travel + Leisure Annual World's Best Awards readers' survey.  Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards highlight the results of an impartial survey that allows Travel + Leisure readers to share their opinions of their favorite travel experiences.*  In the annual reader survey, airlines were rated independently by Travel + Leisure readers in four categories, including:  cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service and value.</p>
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    (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090123/VIRGINAMERICALOGO)
    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090123/VIRGINAMERICALOGO)

    
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<p>"We're honored to receive the highest marks from Travel + Leisure's readers for the third year in a row," said Virgin <span class="xn-person">America President</span> and Chief Executive Officer <span class="xn-person">David Cush</span>. "There are many surveys that attempt to rank airline quality that are paid or that exclude smaller carriers, but this award confirms that we're continuing to lead the U.S. industry and hit the mark with savvy consumers.  As we enter our fourth year of operations, the win is a testament to our unique product and the dedication of our entrepreneurial team."</p>
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<p>With industry-leading guest service, beautiful design and a host of high-tech amenities, Virgin America has captured a list of industry best-in-class awards since launching service in 2007. The airline offers unrivalled value with low fares and innovative features like touch-screen seatback entertainment, power outlets, mood-lighting and custom-designed leather seating with a deeper, more comfortable pitch.  In <span class="xn-chron">May 2009</span>, Virgin America became the first airline to offer guests in-flight internet on every flight.    Virgin America is the only airline in the U.S. with a touch-screen seatback menu that allows guests to order what they want, when they want it during a flight.  Virgin America offers one of the largest selections of fresh menu items, with a focus on lighter, more health-focused options in keeping with the airline's California roots.  Virgin America's in-flight and airport staff training includes a special focus on delivering concierge-like guest care.</p>
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<p>The complete Travel + Leisure 2010 results, including the Top 100 Hotels Overall and Top 10 Cities Overall, are featured on <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest">www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest</a> now and in Travel + Leisure's August issue, available on newsstands <span class="xn-chron">July 23</span>.  The Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards winners for 2010 will be honored in <span class="xn-location">New York City</span> on <span class="xn-chron">July 21</span> at an awards ceremony luncheon at the Trump SoHo New York, followed by a party that evening at the new Andaz 5th Avenue in <span class="xn-location">New York City</span>.</p>
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<p>In addition to a Main Cabin that offers custom-designed leather seats with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, Virgin America's First Class cabin features international-grade amenities, including plush white leather seats with 55 inches of pitch and lumbar massagers.  The carrier's Main Cabin Select service offers 38-inches of seat pitch, complimentary food and cocktails, an all-access pass to the Red entertainment platform's countless entertainment options, dedicated overhead bin space, one free checked bag and priority check-in and boarding.  Virgin America's Elevate frequent flyer program offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat -- on any flight, at any time.</p>
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<p>Virgin America offers over 100 flights a day and flies to:  <span class="xn-location">San Francisco</span>, <span class="xn-location">Los Angeles</span>, New York, Washington D.C., <span class="xn-location">Seattle</span>, <span class="xn-location">Las Vegas</span>, <span class="xn-location">San Diego</span>, <span class="xn-location">Boston</span>, <span class="xn-location">Fort Lauderdale</span>, <span class="xn-location">Toronto</span> and starting in the fall of 2010 -- <span class="xn-location">Orlando</span>.  Virgin America has flown more than eight million guests since its inaugural flights in <span class="xn-chron">August 2007</span>.</p>
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<p>Media Contacts:  Virgin America, Abby Lunardini (650) 533-7576 / <a href="mailto:abby.lunardini@virginamerica.com">abby.lunardini@virginamerica.com</a></p>
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<p>Travel + Leisure, <span class="xn-person">Liz Marsh</span> (212) 382-5684/ <a href="mailto:elizabeth.c.marsh@aexp.com">elizabeth.c.marsh@aexp.com</a>; Jill S. Davison (212) 382-5679/ <a href="mailto:jill.s.davison@aexp.com">jill.s.davison@aexp.com</a></p>
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<p>EDITORS NOTE:  Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled and operated airline and is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. <span class="xn-person">Sir Richard Branson</span>'s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.</p>
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<p>About Virgin America:  Headquartered in California and launched in 2007, Virgin America is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time and currently employs over 1600 people.  Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel.  The airline's base of operations is <span class="xn-location">San Francisco</span> International Airport's ultra-modern International Terminal.  The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear.  Virgin America offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via its touch-screen Red(TM) seatback platform.  In addition to a 20-film library including Oscar winners, foreign language films and <span class="xn-location">Hollywood</span> blockbusters, Red features live TV, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, 3,000 MP3s, music videos, interactive Google maps and more.  In just three years flying, Virgin America was named "Best Domestic Airline in the Conde Nast Traveler 2008 and 2009 Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's 2008, 2009 and 2010 World's Best Awards.  For more: <a href="http://www.virginamerica.com">www.virginamerica.com</a></p>
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<p>About Travel + Leisure:  With an eye for the authentic, the innovative, and the irresistible, Travel + Leisure (<a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com">www.travelandleisure.com</a>) fuses expert reporting on culture, food, style, and design with stunning photography, transporting readers to the places -- and the travel experiences -- that matter now. T+L, the monthly title from American Express Publishing and the long-standing authority in its field, has the largest audience of any travel magazine and is an indispensable guide for global nomads. Travel + Leisure has a network of international editions, including Travel + Leisure <span class="xn-location">Mexico</span>, Travel + Leisure <span class="xn-location">Turkey</span>, Travel + Leisure <span class="xn-location">China</span>, Travel + Leisure South Asia, and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.</p>
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    *About the Survey: 2010 World's Best Awards Survey Methodology
    
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<p>A questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, in association with ROI Research Inc., was made available to Travel + Leisure readers at TLWorldsBest.com from <span class="xn-chron">December 15, 2009</span>, to <span class="xn-chron">March 31, 2010</span>. Readers were invited to participate through Travel + Leisure magazine (January, February, and March issues), and online at TravelandLeisure.com. To protect the integrity of the data, after <span class="xn-chron">March 31, 2010</span>, respondents were screened by Travel + Leisure and responses from any identified travel-industry professionals who completed the survey were eliminated from the final tally. The survey website, TLWorldsBest.com, was maintained, monitored, and kept secure by ROI Research Inc., which collected and tabulated the responses and kept them confidential. The scores are indexed averages of responses concerning applicable characteristics. Respondents were asked to rate hotels, islands, destination spas, golf resorts, and rental-car agencies on five characteristics; cities, cruise lines, and tour operators and safari outfitters on six characteristics; and airlines and hotel spas on four characteristics (see below). In the hotel, cruise line, tour operator, airline, and golf resort categories, respondents could also rate additional optional characteristics; these ratings were not included in the final score. For each characteristic, respondents were asked to rate a candidate on a scale of 1 to 5, where "5" means excellent and "1" means poor. Required component ratings were then averaged, creating an overall score. A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for inclusion in the World's Best Awards listings. Some companies were rated in both the cruise line and tour operator and safari outfitter categories, and some properties were rated in both the destination spa and hotel spa categories. In both cases, companies and properties have different scores for each category. These were the categories and characteristics:</p>
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    --  For hotels: rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food,
        value.
    --  Hotel types were determined using the number of rooms and suites. Inns
        have fewer than 40 rooms; resorts have 40 rooms or more. Small city
        hotels have fewer than 100 rooms; large city hotels have 100 rooms or
        more. In some regions, inns and resorts and large and small city
hotels
        were grouped together.
    --  For destination spas: accommodations/ambience, treatments, service,
        food, value.
    --  For hotel spas: ambience, treatments, service, value.
    --  For cities: sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping,
        value.
    --  For islands: natural attractions, activities/sights, restaurants/food,
        people, value.
    --  For cruise lines: cabins, food, service, itineraries/destinations,
        activities, value.
    --  For tour operators and safari outfitters: staff/guides,
        itineraries/destinations, activities, accommodations, food, value.
    --  For airlines: cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service,
        value.
    --  For rental-car agencies: vehicle selection, vehicle availability,
        rental location, service, value.
    --  For golf resorts: location, course grounds, amenities, service, value.




    

For further information: For further information: Abby Lunardini of Virgin America, +1-650-533-7576, abby.lunardini@virginamerica.com; or Liz Marsh, +1-212-382-5684, elizabeth.c.marsh@aexp.com, or Jill S. Davison, +1-212-382-5679, jill.s.davison@aexp.com, both for Travel + Leisure Web Site: http://www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest http://www.virginamerica.com

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