Virgin America Launches ‘Operation Chihuahua’ Airlift And ‘Lucky Dog’ Fare Sale

Virgin America, San Francisco Animal Care & Control and the ASPCA® Team Up for a St. Patrick’s Day Cross-Country Chihuahua Airlift
Lucky Dogs to Fly in Style to New York Area Where Loving Homes Await
Airline Launches a “Lucky Dog” Fare Sale* with $10 from Every Flight Booked Donated to the SF ACC**

chichi-101SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Virgin America, San Francisco’s hometown airline, is assisting the City of San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SF ACC) by flying Chihuahuas in need from San Francisco to the New York area so they can be adopted quickly into loving homes. The overpopulation of Chihuahuas in California continues to force animal shelters on the West Coast to look to shelters on the East Coast for help – where the dogs will quickly be adopted. As the only San Francisco-based airline, Virgin America first teamed up with the SF ACC to fly needy pups to new homes on the East Coast in 2010 to help address the influx of dogs at shelters on the West Coast. The overpopulation issue has only escalated since the original 2010 airlift, and as part of its long-standing partnership with and commitment to SF ACC, Virgin America is undertaking its sixth such airlift flight.

Today, the airline also launches a “Lucky Dog” fare sale with fares from $49* one way (taxes and fees included, with restrictions applying) – with $10 from each ticket sold donated to the SF ACC.** Tickets are on sale now at and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN*** and must be purchased by 11:59 pm CT on March 19.

chichi-104“Virgin America is thrilled to once again help out our friends and neighbors at San Francisco Animal Care and Control who work so hard to take care of animals in need in our city,” said Frances Fiorillo, Senior Vice President of People and InFlight at Virgin America. “This is now a favorite and beloved partnership for us and our teammates – who volunteer to fly as annual companions in order to get these pups to loving homes on the East Coast.”

Virgin America’s “Official Pet Liaison,” Boo and the Bay Area’s very own Dog Mayor of San Francisco, Frida, hosted a special St. Patrick’s Day green carpet send-off early this morning at the departure gate at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for these lucky dogs before they began their journey – complete with green doggie treats and plenty of toys to play with until departure time. The Chihuahuas will be received at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) by the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) early this evening. Virgin America teammate volunteers are escorting the Chihuahuas on the flight to the East Coast on March 17 and will track their journey with real-time, in-flight updates using the hashtag #OperationChihuahua on the airline’s Instagram and Twitter accounts via the airline’s fleetwide WiFi. Virgin America is also asking its social fans to submit photos of their pets dressed to impress on St. Patrick’s Day – and the airline’s five favorite submissions will each receive a $50 gift certificate from PrideBite – which allows animal lovers to design and customize their pet’s toys and clothes.
OpChiChi1“It is great to partner once again with Virgin America to help these animals find a loving and caring home on the East Coast,” saidVirginia Donohue, Director of the City of San Francisco Animal Care & Control. “With California having a major overpopulation of Chihuahuas, this partnership has continued to help us in our mission to find families for these animals in need. While these lucky dogs are on their way to be adopted on the East Coast – Bay Area residents interested in adopting a pet can make tails wag by visiting their local shelter today.”

“The ASPCA is dedicated to ending animal homelessness nationwide, and we are thrilled to do our part today helping to find loving homes for this group of animals from San Francisco while meeting the high demand for these dogs in New York,” said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center. “These Chihuahuas will need time to settle in and receive medical and behavioral evaluations once they arrive so we encourage interested adopters to visit our website to learn about all the available animals at our adoption center looking for their forever homes.”

Since its launch in 2007, Virgin America has won a list of industry best-in-class awards for its topnotch service and tech-forward amenities like fleetwide WiFi and power outlets near every seat. The airline’s Red® in-flight entertainment platform offers guests on every flight their own seatback touch-screen TV, with more than 20 films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, a 3,000 song library and an on-demand menu, which allows flyers to order a cocktail or snack from their seatback any time during a flight.

The airline continues to expand its network across the country with flights to Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, Newark, New York (JFK and LGA), Orlando, Palm Springs (seasonal), Portland,Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA).

Photos and video from today’s ‘Operation Chihuahua’ airlift will be available here:

Photos of Virgin America’s unique aircraft and broadcast quality b-roll are available here.

Known for its mood-lit cabins, three beautifully designed classes of service and innovative fleetwide amenities — like touch-screen personal entertainment, WiFi and power outlets at every seat, Virgin America has built a loyal following of flyers and earned a host of awards since launching in 2007 — including being named both the “Best U.S. Airline” in Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for the past seven consecutive years.  For more:

About the San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control:
The Department of Animal Care & Control is a taxpayer-funded open-admission animal shelter.  Animal Care & Control provides housing, care and medical treatment to wild, exotic and domestic stray, lost, abandoned sick, injured and/or surrendered animals. Animal Care & Control aims to adopt, rehome or reunite domestic animals with their guardians and to rehabilitate and release wildlife to their native habitat.  Animal Care & Control responds to animal related emergencies, including animal abuse and neglect, as well as matters of public safety. Animal Care & Control is located at 1200 15th St. (at Harrison.)

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

* Lucky Dog Fare Sale Terms and Conditions: All Main Cabin fares are one-way and require a 21-day advance purchase.  Tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm CT on Thursday, March 19, 2015. Travel must occur between April 7, 2015 and June 10, 2015.  Travel for FLL-SFO must occur by May 19, 2015.  AUS-DAL service starts on April 28, 2015.   Lowest sale fares are available only on certain itineraries.  Lowest sale fares are only valid for travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. Flights may not operate daily. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. For travel solely between points in the Western Region (LAS/LAX/PDX/PSP/PVR/SAN/SEA/SFO/SJD only) and AUS-DAL, changes or cancellations can be made for a $100 fee per guest through all channels, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. For all other itineraries, changes or cancellations can be made for a $150 fee per guest through all channels, plus any increase in fare, if applicable. Any remaining balance will be placed in a guest’s travel bank, good for travel on Virgin America for one year from date of issue. Changes or cancellations of a booking made with Elevate Points will be subject to a $100 redeposit fee per guest. Guests who no-show without a change or cancellation prior to the scheduled departure time will forfeit the amount of this fare. In addition, any future flights booked in the same reservation will also be canceled and the fare will be forfeited. Tickets purchased from Virgin America through our reservation call center will cost an additional $20 per guest per itinerary. Any added cost associated with purchasing tickets from Virgin America through our reservation call center will be non-refundable. Fares will not be honored retroactively or in exchange for any wholly or partially used ticket. Fares, routes, fees and schedules are subject to change without notice. Virgin America will accept up to ten pieces of checked baggage, up to 50 pounds each, per ticketed guest traveling within the U.S. The fee for each piece of checked baggage up to 50 pounds is $25. Additional fees apply to baggage exceeding these weight limitations, and other baggage restrictions may apply.

**SF ACC Donation: Virgin America will donate $10 for each ticket sold during the “Lucky Dog” fare sale to the SF ACC, with a maximum donation of $25,000 (cash and in-kind).

***Any guest calling within the United States has access to a complimentary telecommunication relay service by dialing 711. For more information, go to:

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