Virgin Launches West Coast Routes from Chicago

Virgin America

After lengthy negotiations that took three years to put into place, Virgin America is launching service from Chicago to the West Coast.

The airline will commence service from Chicago O'Hare International Airport with two daily nonstop flights to Los Angeles International Airport and three to San Francisco International Airport.

The California-based low-cost carrier will launch these routes on May 25 with a fare-busting deal sponsored by Groupon. Subscribers to the Internet coupon web site can purchase $77 worth of roundtrip travel on the new Virgin America routes with a $7 coupon from Groupon. Roundtrip fares start at $198 for both destinations from Chicago. The discount arrangement marks Groupon's first foray into promotions with airline companies.

"When more airlines compete, consumers tend to win," says Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. Virgin America is partially owned by U.K. billionaire Richard Branson.

Virgin America originally announced its intent to serve O'Hare in 2008, but it was unable secure a gate at the airport until recently when one of the gates the city recently acquired from Delta Airlines Terminal 3 became available after Delta's merger with Northwest Airlines.

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