Alaska Airlines is scrubbing Virgin America's presence from airports tonight

Key Points
  • Alaska Airlines merged with Virgin America in December 2016.
  • The airline still has to repaint some Virgin planes with its logo.
  • Employees are removing physical signage and the Virgin America website.
A Virgin America plane
Getty Images

Don't bother looking for a Virgin America kiosk at the airport Wednesday morning.

Employees of Alaska Airlines, which merged with Richard Branson-backed Virgin America in December 2016, are racing to scrub the former company's branding from 29 airports around the U.S.

Virgin America-branded kiosks and signs at baggage claim, curbside check-in and ticket counters will be removed and switched out for Alaska Airlines' logos "overnight," the company said. Virgin America's website will redirect travelers to Alaska's. There will be a single call center.

Virgin America's last departure, Flight 1947 is scheduled to take off from Los Angeles to Virgin America's former home base of San Francisco at 9:35 p.m.

In January, Virgin America planes lost their colorful call sign — "Redwood" — the way air traffic controllers and airlines address flights. Now these flights are simply called "Alaska."

Even though the merger closed more than a year ago, the airline is working through the details of combining the two companies, which together have more than 21,000 employees, according to a recent Alaska Airlines filing.

The branding of Virgin America, which started flying in 2007, won't be completely gone come morning. Seattle-based Alaska will start repainting Virgin's red-and-white Airbus fleet in the fourth quarter of 2018 and expects it to be completed by 2019 in Alaska's blue-and-white colors. Virgin America planes, which have included black leather seats, will be retrofitted to match Alaska's more closely later this year.

Flight attendants will also transition to new uniforms by late 2019, said Ann Johnson, a spokeswoman for the airline.

In April, airport employees, such as customer service agents, who had worked for Virgin America started wearing a "transitional uniform" but that a few white, blue and navy items will be added to "identify them as part of the Alaska family," she said.

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