Virgin America suffered through a tumultuous and controversial birthing period and almost never got off the ground. Delta and Continental particularly protested Sir Richard Branson's involvement, given the US governments rule prohibiting non US citizens from holding a 25% share. Finally, Virgin Atlantic finally launched on August, 2007 with service to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington DC using Airbus A319s and Airbus A320s. Virgin America is not a LCC per se, though fares are often very reasonable. VX offers a very high level of service which is also quite cutting edge with Wi-Fi on all airplanes, the most incredible IFE in the sky, a seductive comfortable cabin, and very hip cabin crew. Inspired by Virgin Atlantic, It is completely different than anything ever seen on domestic service in the US. Unlike direct competitor JetBlue who began life as a New York City JFK based airline focusing on service to Florida, Virgin America chose to focus on West Coast centric and transcontinental services radiating from its San Francisco base. and Los Angeles. Over the next 2 years, it expanded slowly to a total of 9 cities before finally adding service to Ft Lauderdale, Florida on November 18, 2009.
Virgin America inaugurated its "Golden Service" to Ft Lauderdale, Florida with service from Los Angeles and San Francisco with an inflight party, followed by an arrival bash starring Sir Richard Branson and CEO David Cush. All passengers, along with press, and celebrities were experienced the characteristic Virgin flair Both A319s flew in near formation touching down one right after the other. Branson hilariously kept referring to Virgin America as Virgin Blue (Virgin's Australian LCC) during his speech before correcting himself. Also, he pointed out that JetBlue began their "copy cat" Ft Lauderdale to San Francisco service on the same day, in fact minutes, after JetBlue's.