Virgin America Gets Super-Fast Wi-Fi
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First, there was fleet-wide Wi-Fi. Then came the Red® in-flight entertainment system with improved audio and full seasons of TV shows on demand. And starting in September, Virgin America will offer significantly faster Wi-Fi connectivity on the airline’s 10 new A320 aircraft deliveries. Ladies and gentlemen, start your (search) engines!
Virgin America has just announced a new partnership with ViaSat Inc. to give passengers significantly faster connectivity — 8 to 10 times faster than any other in-flight WiFi system. This is the same type of service that JetBlue offers, through its partnership with LiveTV.
What’s even better, ViaSat’s new hybrid Ku/Ka-band antenna will enable in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity on flights serving the airline’s new Hawaiian destinations as of 2016. Yes, you read that right — Wi-Fi fast enough for streaming over the ocean! What a time to be alive (and flying to Hawaii, you lucky devil).
The ViaSat Wi-Fi will be free for now; Virgin America is not going to start charging for this service until it’s out of beta next year, and hasn’t yet announced pricing. This plan differs a bit from JetBlue’s beta structure, which offers a basic Simply Surf connection for free, and a FlyFi Plus plan for $9/hour if you’re looking for more bandwidth (e.g., streaming movies).