Grant Stinchfield, NBCDFW.com
Low cost, high-style Virgin American arrived from the west coast to much hype and fanfare, but how will Virgin's arrival affect ticket prices?
"We are very excited about bringing our rock star service at a cover band price to DFW," said Virgin America's Sir Richard Branson.
Virgin America will now offer two daily flights each to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Analysts, like Fare Compare's Rick Seaney, said the arrival of Virgin America means more choices for flyers traveling to the west coast and that competition is always good for the consumer.
Seany is quick to point out American Airlines doesn't need to be to concerned, however.
"With only a few flights to the west coast, Virgin can't match American's capacity or advantage miles program which means business travelers will probably stick with American."
That being said, the arrival of Virgin America did have an immediate effect on ticket prices. Flying from DFW to L.A. on the Dec.23 and returning on Dec. 26, Virgin offered a round trip fare for $397. American not only matched that price, but beat it by $20. But, if you want to check a bag, Virgin still has them beat by $5 when AA's $25 bag fee is taken into account.
"We routinely match every fare in the market place for every route we compete on," said American Airlines spokesperson Tim Smith.
Smith said American matches low fare carriers in nearly 85 percent of the domestic markets they serve.
American can't compete with Virgins America's new fleet of planes. They are all sleek and filled with innovative amenities like in-flight Wi-Fi and On-Demand movies and games. If that's not enough, the planes also have hip, lounge style, mood lighting and seat-to-seat chat through their innovative entertainment platform.
“With touch-screen entertainment offering live TV, movies and hundreds of entertainment choices and new aircraft that look like nothing else in the skies, we think our service will be a breath of fresh air for Dallas-Fort Worth travelers,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “Before today, flyers along the routes had very little choice. A little healthy competition is always a good thing – and we hope our flights can bring some style and fun back to flying.”
The airline is planning a Texas-sized bash for their inaugural day in the market, including a concert by legendary Texan Willie Nelson.