Virgin America’s long awaited entry into Maui’s airspace officially arrived Dec. 3 with fares to San Francisco at less than $200 one way (including taxes and restrictions applying). The airline will offer travelers two inbound and two outbound flights each day between San Francisco and Kahului, Maui–with connecting flights from most Virgin America markets including Los Angeles and New York. “As Hawaii is one of the most popular leisure destinations among Bay Area travelers, we are thrilled to begin our nonstop flights to Maui … on the heels of our launch to Honolulu just last month–and continue the expansion of world class destinations we fly to,” said John MacLeod, Senior Vice President of Sales and Planning at Virgin America.
The addition of the California-based airline to the Maui market provides those traveling via the Bay Area an upscale new travel option and more weekly flight options. “The additional air seats Virgin America is providing with its new nonstop service from San Francisco makes Maui even more enticing to Bay Area residents,” said George Szigeti, President and CEO at Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Passengers on Virgin America’s debut flight into Kahului were welcomed with a Spray of Aloha (water lei) when the plan landed on Maui. As guests deplaned, each received a fresh flower lei greeting courtesy the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, and a Made in Maui amenity bag courtesy the Maui County Office of Economic Development. The inaugural passengers were also welcomed with Hula dancing and Hawaiian music.
Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau Executive Director Terryl Vencel said Virgin America and Maui are a perfect travel combination that residents throughout the San Francisco Bay Area will love when making their vacation plans. “We are excited to have one of the nation’s top-ranked airlines flying to our island paradise, which is annually honored as one of the best destinations in the world. Travelers will enjoy the convenient, quality service and Maui’s visitor industry will benefit from being part of Virgin America’s nationwide network,” Vencl said.
Virgin America’s promotional campaign says the airlines is uniquely tailored to the modern traveler and to the longer-haul Hawaii flight experience. Those traveling on the company’s new SFO route will fly on new aircraft that offers three custom-designed classes of service, touch-screen personal entertainment and an award-winning on-demand food and cocktail menu on every flight; in addition, the SFO flights depart from a stylish and convenient new terminal (Terminal Two) at San Francisco International Airport, allowing travelers to kick-off their Hawaii vacation as soon as they step on-board.
The daily, nonstop flights will be operated with new Airbus A320 aircraft that Virgin America has taken delivery of this year, which are equipped with fuel-saving, “sharklet” wingtip devices, allowing the airline to operate flights more efficiently, especially over longer haul routes.
In addition to a Main Cabin that offers custom-designed leather seating with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, Virgin America’s First Class cabin offers plush white leather ‘cradle sleeper’ 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 content, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding.
Virgin’s in-flight entertainment platform offers guests their own seatback touch-screen TV, with films, TV, Google Maps, videogames, a 3,000 song library and an on-demand food and beverage menu, which allows fliers to order a cocktail or snack from their seat any time during a flight.
The new Maui flights are on sale now and can be purchased at Virginamerica.com or 1-877-FLY-VIRGIN; restrictions may apply.
In November, Virgin America launched daily nonstop flights from San Francisco to Honolulu with a series of festive events–including the opportunity for workaholics to score the ultimate “Hawaiiscape” with Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson. Virgin America partnered with community-driven hospitality company Airbnb to surprise a lucky worker in San Francisco with the chance to join the inaugural Honolulu flight.
Upon touchdown of the first flight in Hawaii, Virgin America’s first guests were greeted with a red carpet luau reception on the Honolulu tarmac–with a traditional Hawaiian welcome and blessing hosted by Governor David Ige, George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and HNL airport officials.
Later that evening, Branson and Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall hosted an oceanfront sunset event at an Airbnb property, the notable Paul Mitchell Estate on Oahu, with community partners and special guests like professional surfer Alana Blanchard and kiteboarder and Zozi Guru Susi Mai.
Photo of Virgin America aircraft at San Francisco International Airport: Angelo DeSantis/Wikimedia Commons