Virgin America begins selling tickets Thursday for flights tentatively set to begin Aug. 8. The Aug. 8 launch date is contingent on the carrier getting final Federal Aviation Administration certification to begin flying.
The carriers first routes are SFO to JFK and JFK to SFO. Based in San Francisco, Virgin America will add Washington Dulles and Las Vegas as destinations over the next three months.
The carrier expects to be serving up to 10 U.S. destinations within one year and 30 within five.
Like Virgin Atlantic Airways, British billionaire Richard Branson is positioning Virgin America as a low-fare airline with superior comfort and customer service. Fares will be as low as $139 one-way across the country. First class fares will be as much as half that of first class fares on other carriers.
However, the good news of another great low-cost carrier extends beyond the birth of Virgin America. The official onset of Virgin America is driving other low-cost airlines, such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, to match its fares. JetBlue plans to offer New York-California round-trip flights for $278, according to USAToday.com.