Virgin America is moving fast. The discount airline, based in California, has a limited number of destinations, but is well known for its stellar in-flight entertainment (I've passed more than one flight's time with marathons of My Super Sweet 16 on MTV) and speedy Wi-Fi. It's less known for the soothing purple lighting on its flights.
Today, Virgin America flew its first international flight, during which Virgin's founder, Sir Richard Branson, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the expansion to two more international locations. The flight proceeded from LAX in Los Angeles to SFO in San Francisco, and then finally to Toronto's Pearson International Airport (codenamed YYZ for some reason).
The new destination will only be served by San Francisco and Los Angeles, not any of Virgin America's East coast hubs. But the flights will be in keeping with Virgin's low budget, starting at around $180. As anyone who's flown between the States and Canada will tell you (myself included--I went to college in Canada), flights are usually prohibitively expensive, considering the distance. $180 is quite cheap for that kind of flight.
The flight from San Francisco to Toronto was accompanied by Drake, a rapper/actor and native Torontonian (you might know him as Jimmy on Degrassi, if you spent any time in Canada as an adolescent) who will perform that night at a party described by Virgin America's press release (a reliable source!) as a jaunt that "just might cause an international incident."
While in the air on the way to Toronto, Branson and Schwarzenegger announced Virgin America's expansion to Mexico, with new destinations in Cancun and San Jose del Cabo.
Virgin is also known for it's comparative environmental bent--it's estimated to be 25% more energy-efficient than the average airline. The airline currently flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Ft. Lauderdale. Orlando will be added in the fall of 2010.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com