Alaska Airlines unveiled a new special baseball-themed livery late Wednesday. The announcement appeared to be tied to the fact that Alaska will be taking over for Virgin America as the official airline of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Team. Alaska Airlines will supercede Virgin America’s role starting with the 2018 season. This was a move that wasn’t totally unexpected. Virgin America became the team’s official airline back in 2008. Since then they’ve sponsored stadium signage and the swanky Virgin America Club Level that hosts purple lighting, fancy tile floors, and consolidated food options. In the past few months, Alaska Airlines signage has begun to appear behind home plate during baseball games with additional advertising throughout the stadium. The new agreement between Alaska and the Giants extends the partnership for an additional seven years. The partnership includes a specially-themed Giants aircraft.
The extended partnership features several cobranded elements which will be introduced over the next several months leading into the 2018 season. They include:
An Alaska Airlines customized suite located in AT&T Park’s right field with views of McCovey Cove;
The naming rights to the AT&T Park Club Level which will be called the “Alaska Airlines Club Level” and be updated to combine the look and feel of the airline with the premium level experiences Giants fans have appreciated on this level of the ballpark; and
The new Giants-themed Airbus 321, operated by Virgin America, will feature the iconic Golden Gate bridge in orange across the fuselage with the orange and black Giants logo above the wing and a large black “SF” on the back section of the fuselage.
The Alaska/Giants partnership will also feature many fan-friendly components including:
Alaska in-flight Giants offers;
Special vacation packages for Giants fans through the Giants Vacations program;
Alaska serving as the presenting partner for the Giant Races, which are a series of foot races that include events such as a Half Marathon, 10k, 5k and Kids Race/Family Relay, held in Scottsdale, Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco and benefit local community groups;
Continuation of the highly popular “Two-For-One” Flight Voucher event for the first 40,000 Giants fans attending a Giants home game each season. The first “Two-For-One” event will be this coming Sunday, Sept. 17; and
Alaska will launch a seasonal, twice daily flight from San Francisco to Phoenix, Arizona for Giants fans to attend Spring Training in 2018. The flight schedule is being finalized and tickets will go on sale later this year.
The new Giants-themed livery will be painted on a Virgin America Airbus A-321NEO sometime in early 2018. We’re assuming that one of Virgin America’s new 10 A321NEOs will be repainted or it will be painted with the theme prior to delivery from Airbus. The drawing of the Giants plane is slightly odd though. Most special liveries still feature the airline logo somewhere in the design. This drawing shows a blank tail, perhaps to make it easier to add Alaska titles to the jet at a later time. Additionally, the drawing that Alaska provided shows an old A321 not an A321NEO with much larger engines. Virgin America doesn’t fly the original A321.
One interesting note…Virgin America’s Twitter account congratulated Alaska Airlines on the new partnership. While they are technically already one company, the tweet felt a little sad. It felt more like a former lover congratulating her ex on his engagement to someone else. This transition of sponsorship is another small but steady sign that Virgin America is truly folding into Alaska Airlines. Virgin America’s Airbus fleet will begin being repainted to Alaska within the next few months. The Virgin America name will be retired by the end of 2019.
— Virgin America (@VirginAmerica) September 13, 2017