Virgin America claims WiFi first

Virgin America has announced that it is the first and only airline to offer Gogo In-flight Internet service on every flight. Guests on any of Virgin America’s 100 daily flights have the option to surf the Web, check e-mail, or log on to their corporate VPN - all from the comfort of their seats at 37,000 feet.Virgin America marks this in-flight WiFi milestone with another first for an airline: an air-to-ground Skype video call with Oprah Winfrey which will air on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

“As a new airline, Virgin America is reinventing the typical domestic air travel experience with award-winning service and brand new, beautifully designed planes equipped with the latest technology and entertainment. With power outlets at every Virgin America seat, Gogo(R) has now turned our planes into WiFi hotspots and home offices in the air,” said Porter Gale, Vice President of Marketing for Virgin America. “Hosting a chat from a plane at 37,000 feet to Oprah Winfrey in her studio is a fun example of how Virgin America is embracing technology and meeting the needs of consumers who want to stay connected.”

Virgin America in-flight teammate Mandalay Roberts chats with Oprah Winfrey on this Thursday’s episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, entitled “Where the Skype Are You?” via video chat from the First Class cabin of Virgin America Flight VX780 en route from Seattle to Los Angeles. Oprah Winfrey also surprised and met some of the 120 guests on board the regularly scheduled commercial flight and hosted the first ever Skype-enabled in-flight wine tasting, where Virgin America guests swirled, sniffed and sipped right along with her from the skies. For more on the segment, visit: www.oprah.com

Although Virgin America does not typically allow Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) products like Skype video call in-flight due to concerns about maintaining a quiet, restful cabin environment, guests can currently use Gogo(R) to Skype via the instant message feature, in addition to e-mailing, tweeting, updating their Facebook pages and any of the myriad other ways the web is keeping people connected. The early roll out of the Gogo(R) service across the airline’s network makes Virgin America the first and only airline to offer consumers in-flight WiFi on every flight - regardless of route, aircraft type, or flight time.

“We were thrilled to virtually host Oprah Winfrey and her audience on-board one of our flights. The excitement people have about in-flight WiFi has been reflected in the rave reviews we’ve received from our guests since we launched the service on our first plane back in November. Our tech-savvy fliers have already embraced the option, as we’re regularly seeing up to one-quarter of guests on any given flight logged on,” added Gale.

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The Gogo(R) service is available for $12.95 for daytime flights of over three hours, $9.95 for daytime flights of less than three hours, $5.95 on red-eye flights and $7.95 for handheld devices. In November 2008, Virgin America launched Gogo(R) In-flight Internet on its first flight with a first ever “air-to-ground” video stream to YouTube Live - YouTube’s first official real-world user event. In February 2009, the airline became the first to host a live national television broadcast via WiFi stream while in-flight over the coast of Massachusetts with CBS News’ THE EARLY SHOW. This spring, Virgin America also became the first and only carrier to show guests which flights were WiFi enabled at the time of booking, as the airline continued to roll out its service fleetwide.

Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston and Orange County. The airline is one of the fastest growing of all time, with an all-new Airbus A320-family fleet and daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, SFO to SEA, SEA to LAX, JFK to LAS, BOS to LAX, BOS to SFO and SFO to SNA.
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