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Aviation

Alaska Airlines is making changes after its acquisition of Virgin America

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: January 25
  • Published January 25

An Alaska Airlines plane on final approach in San Diego (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Get ready for changes on your Alaska Airlines flights.

In an email to customers last week, the Seattle-based company said it's making "substantial" investments in its products, services and network, including high-speed satellite Wi-Fi, mood lighting and new crew uniforms.

The changes, which will start this year, come after parent company Alaska Air Group's $2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America. The two are now officially one airline in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration, Alaska said in its email.

Fans of Virgin America were anxious to see what that deal would mean for their beloved brand, which, as Conde Nast Traveler said in an article this week, was the "cool kid" to Alaska Airlines' "straight-A student."

The result of the merger, according to Conde Nast, is an edgier Alaska that looks more like Virgin.

The airline will replace the interiors of its fleet of 73 Airbus planes, meaning new seats, carpets and lighting. Its Boeing aircraft will have new, modern interiors with blue mood lighting.

There will also be more choices for "West Coast-inspired" food and drink, and music that "will help us celebrate our West Coast roots," Alaska said in its email to fliers.

In partnership with the Port of Seattle, Alaska will also build a $650 million, 20-gate facility and 15,000-square-foot lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, all set to open in 2019.

Alaska added 44 routes last year, on top of the 38 new routes that came from the Virgin acquisition.

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