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More airlines on the horizon for Logan Airport

Whether or not the grass really is greener on the other side (of the country), traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast for spring break is looking up for student vacationers.

Virgin Atlantic Airways and Southwest Airlines Co. are beginning to make themselves at home at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and JetBlue Airlines is adding new destinations to the popular airline.Virgin America has already added direct flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Boston, with service to Orange County coming in April, according to its website.

‘Boston was always at the very top of our list,’ Virgin America spokeswoman Patricia Condon said. ‘It is a top destination from the San Francisco and LAX.’

Southwest plans to start operating out of Logan in April or May, Southwest spokesman Paul Flannagan said.’

‘We studied the metropolitan market in the Boston area, and we feel confident that the passenger demand will support new operations at Logan,’ Flannagan said.

Boston was part of Southwest’s schedule optimization, he said.

‘As we look at our schedule, in today’s economic times, we really want to optimize our flights,’ Flannagan said. ‘We will cut out flights that people aren’t flying, and add flights that are profitable.’

Southwest has not yet announced which cities their new Boston post would service, but the airline is not concerned about other operators expanding in Logan, Flannagan said.

‘ ‘We are kind of the ‘love’ airline. Everyone knows we’re a little different,’ Flannagan said. ‘We are the low-fare carrier.’

Students will also be able to fly to Los Angeles International Airport and New York City from Logan on JetBlue Airways in the spring, officials said. JetBlue has operated at Logan since 2004.

‘We put service to LAX on hold because fuel was 150 dollars a barrel,’ JetBlue spokesman Sebastian White said. ‘It was cost prohibitive. This year with fuel down we have decided to go into LAX, [which is] a destination that people keep asking for.’

Rail service in Boston will not suffer from the extra airlines, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said. Amtrak has its own advantages including shorter waits, more room and better reliability rates that will allure certain travelers, regardless of competition from new airlines.

‘Amtrak is still able to provide service where the airports would have to cancel or shut down,’ Cole said.

Students hailing from the West Coast said the added choices will make their trips home a little easier.

‘Flights from Boston to California are ridiculously expensive, but prices have gone down,’ College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Lindsay Pica said. ‘I usually fly United or Jet Blue and they no longer have as many flights so I can’t even get a direct flight.’

CAS freshman Jennifer Victorica said she likes to take JetBlue to fly home to Oakland, Calif. because of the airline’s extra perks.

‘They are cheaper than other airlines. More comfortable. More space,’ Victorica said. ‘They have personal screens, you can buy movies, have free cable channels, XM radio and there’s a cool map of the US that shows you where you are flying.’

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