Virgin to stop service at Mineta San Jose Airport

Virgin Airlines is shutting down service at Mineta San Jose International Airport less than a year after it began.
March 14, 2014 11:30:00 AM PDT
Virgin America made a lot of noise with its celebrity CEO when it moved into Mineta San Jose International Airport less than a year ago. But today the airline announced it will be permanently departing from the heart of Silicon Valley.

This was a blockbuster move for Virgin America, but you need the passengers to make it work. It was a service that never really took off.

Virgin America isn't the biggest airline at Mineta San Jose International Airport, but it does appear to be very popular with its passengers. Eight flights to and from Los Angeles will go away starting on May 14.

Virgin America started its service to Los Angeles last May with a lot of fanfare; celebrity CEO Richard Branson was all smiles at the celebration in San Jose. But the airline was quickly brought back down to earth.

In a statement released this morning, Virgin America said: "Despite our steadily improving performance at Mineta San Jose International Airport, demand in the market hasn't met expectations and we've made the decision to focus on more lucrative long-haul flying opportunities."

Airport officials say the route to LA is a competitive one and with so many options seats are sometimes left empty.

"It was probably half, 3/4s full so I can kind of understand that if it's like that all the time," said Virgin America passenger Thomas Lambert.

Passengers will now have to decide if they'll head to SFO to fly Virgin America or switch airlines for the convenience of San Jose.

"I would probably fly a different airline and fly into here just because of the convenience," said Virgin America passenger Gordon Hunt.

"I still think that we have enough options to offer people so that they don't have to drive a way to go to LA. It would be silly to drive north to fly south," said Mineta San Jose International Airport Spokeswoman Vicki Day.

If you purchased a ticket to fly out of San Jose after May 14 Virgin America says it will give you an alternative flight at SFO or refund your ticket.


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