Richard Branson's Virgin America Flies into Chicago O'Hare

Beginning May 25, 2011, Virgin America — Sir Richard Branson's low-fare, upscale-service domestic airline — will offer daily nonstop service to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD), it announced last month.

With fares starting at $99, Virgin America initially will offer two daily nonstop roundtrip flights between O'Hare and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), as well as three between O'Hare and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Connecting flights also will be available from O'Hare to San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas.

"Until today, travelers flying from O'Hare to SFO or LAX had little choice and few low fare options," said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. "With unrivaled service and new planes that look like nothing else in the skies, we hope our flights will be a breath of fresh air for Chicago travelers."

Added Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, "We couldn't be more pleased to welcome Virgin America to Chicago O'Hare. O'Hare is one of the world's busiest travel hubs, and our air transport infrastructure continues to play a critical role in our region's economic future. New airline service stimulates travel demand and job growth — and is a powerful economic driver, especially when linking major business centers like Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Our investment to help bring new airline competition to ORD will not only stimulate economic growth, it will directly benefit travelers by lowering fares and improving service."

Launched in 2007, Virgin America is know for its contemporary cabins and high-tech amenities, which have won it the title of "Best Domestic Airline" for three consecutive years in both Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards. The airline originally announced plans to service O'Hare in 2008, but had to delay its Windy City rollout due to gate availability. Currently, the airline flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas, Los Cabos and Cancun.