Virgin America, a next generation airline that began service on August 8th, today announced that it is partnering with AirCell in an effort aimed at offering air-to-ground broadband internet service on Virgin America flights sometime in 2008. Guests onboard America's newest airline will be able to access the internet either through their wifi-enabled personal devices or through the Red(TM) Inflight Entertainment system at every seat.
Customized for Virgin America, the system is anticipated to allow guests to connect to the internet with the AirCell Broadband Service, using either their Red(TM) seatback video screens or their own wifi enabled portable gaming devices, laptops, PDAs or Smartphones. As such, in addition to the many entertainment choices currently offered by Red(TM) guests will be able to check and send web-email from their seatbacks through Red(TM)'s TALK -- the airline's onboard chat system -- using popular instant messaging services such as MSN, Google talk, Yahoo! Skype, and AIM.
"We believe that broadband connectivity on our planes will help enhance the inflight experience for our guests," said Charles Ogilvie, Virgin America's Director of Inflight Entertainment & Partnerships. "Whether it's IMing with your friends, updating your blog, getting a stock quote, sending photos from your trip to friends, watching a movie or sending a work email, we plan to make it all available on a Virgin America plane."
Once operational, the Virgin America-AirCell system will allow Virgin America's guests to receive this airborne functionality on every flight. Virgin America is the first airline to announce and commit to a planned full-fleet deployment of broadband connectivity.
"Equipping an entire fleet of aircraft with broadband capability is an enormous step forward for the airline industry, and more importantly for passengers. The excitement here at AirCell to see our service complement Virgin America's Red(TM) is amazing!" said Jack Blumenstein, CEO. "Our service is designed from ground up to help airlines reach new heights and Virgin America is certainly using it for that."
It is anticipated that the AirCell on Red(TM) capability will be made available on Virgin America aircraft sometime in 2008.