The FINANCIAL — Virgin America America and China Southern Airlines on December 29 announce an agreement to offer seamless booking and travel between China, Southeast Asia and multiple Virgin America destinations across the United States.
Under the new agreement, China Southern will place its two-digit airline code (CZ) and flight numbers on a range of Virgin America routes operating from Los Angeles and San Francisco – including West Coast flights to and from Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Newark, New York (JFK), Seattle, San Diego and Washington DC. This partnership will bring expanded choice and convenience for travelers flying between China Southern’s numerous Chinese and Southeast Asia destinations and the United States. This agreement is unique in that China Southern is the only airline offering non-stop service between Guangzhou and Wuhan and the United States. This codeshare arrangement allows a one-stop booking process, a single ticket and one-stop check-in, including baggage handling, for the entire journey, according to Virgin America.
“China is a significant inbound and outbound tourism market and we are extremely pleased to partner with China Southern, Asia’s largest carrier by fleet size, and an airline that shares Virgin America’s commitment to providing excellent, guest-focused service,” said Adam Green, Virgin America’s Director of Network Planning. “We look forward to welcoming China Southern guests onboard our flights as we provide them with our signature, award-winning Virgin service to and from destinations across our U.S. route network.”
“We are thrilled to expand our network further into the United States with Virgin America,” said Mr. Zhao Xiaosong, SVP International Affairs and Alliances of China Southern. “The United States is a substantial market for us and through this partnership we could offer our passengers more travel destinations via Guangzhou. We look forward to working closely with Virgin America in the future.”
China Southern, which is headquartered in Guangzhou, offers daily flights from Guangzhou to San Francisco (three flights per week with one stop in Wuhan), ten flights per week from Guangzhou to Los Angeles, and daily flights from Guangzhou to New York. China Southern has the most extensive network in China and in Asia and a strong presence in Europe and Oceania.
The agreement announced today builds and expands on China Southern’s existing interline arrangement with Virgin
America. China Southern is Virgin America’s sixth codeshare agreement and joins the airline’s growing partner portfolio. Virgin America offers mood-lit aircraft with three custom-designed classes of service, touch-screen personal entertainment and an on-demand food and cocktail menu on every flight. In addition to a Main Cabin that offers custom leather seating with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, the airline’s First Class cabin offers plush white leather seating with 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers. The carrier’s Main Cabin Select service offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to media, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding. The Red™ entertainment platform offers guests their own seatback touch-screen, with +20 latest release films, TV, interactive maps, videogames, a 3,000 song library, surround sound technology and an on-demand menu, which allows flyers to order from their seatback any time during a flight. With a full service First Class menu and a unique on-demand menu in the Main Cabin, Virgin America was named Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “Best U.S. Airline for Food” in 2014 and 2015. Virgin America has also been a stand-out in the industry for its operational performance. For the past three years, Virgin America has been recognized as the number one ranked carrier in the Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report, an annual study of U.S. domestic airline performance conducted by professors at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – measuring on-time performance, customer complaints, denied boarding and mishandled bags.
Since its 2007 launch, Virgin America has created nearly 3,000 jobs. As of March 15th, 2016, the airline will serve 24 destinations in the U.S. and Mexico.