Yesterday, Alaska Airlines announced that it would retire the Virgin America brand (most likely sometime in 2019). Richard Branson responded with a goodbye message to Virgin America which he ended with the following:
I’m told some people at Virgin America are calling today “the day the music died”. It is a sad (and some would say baffling) day. But I’d like to assure them that the music never dies.
Was that a hint suggesting that he’ll re-start the airline?
Richard did more than hint of such a thing last year. In an April 2016 interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Branson said “People love Virgin with a passion that hasn’t existed since the early days of aviation, and I am certainly not going to let it go to waste, even if it means starting all over again.”
Branson said the same to me in October when I used 1.2 million Virgin Atlantic miles to spend a week at Necker Island. I had the opportunity to sit next to him at lunch one day and I asked him what he thought Alaska would do with the Virgin America brand. He said that he didn’t know, but that if they retired the brand he would definitely create a new Virgin America. I asked him if he had thoughts about where the new airline would be based, but he declined to answer.
Richard, we’ve never had the opportunity to fly Virgin America from Detroit, but I assure you we would welcome you here with Virgin America 2.0. How about it?