Alaska Kills Live TV on Virgin Jets, Will Remove Seatback Entertainment System

Apr 20, 2018

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Only days away from Alaska killing off the Virgin America brand, we have some sad news about the elimination of a popular amenity that passengers enjoyed on the carrier.

On March 1, Alaska ended live TV on all Virgin America Airbus aircraft. However the airline did double the movie selection, all of which are free, in order to compensate for the reduced entertainment options.

Alaska is trying to standardize the experience across all its aircraft, and that includes doing away with some of the things that made Virgin America unique.

So, what does standardization mean in regards to in-flight-entertainment (IFE) on Virgin jets? Over the next 18 months as Alaska retrofits all of its acquired Virgin Airbus aircraft with new interiors, we’ll see the move to a “bring your own” device IFE program and the removal the Virgin Red IFE system.

Virgin RED offered free live TV, movies, free TV shows, games and the ability to order food, drinks and other amenities from the screen installed in the seat-back headrest.

In its place, fliers will be able to stream content to to their own devices, i.e. a smart phone or tablet. On longer flights Alaska offers its own tablets to rent that come pre-loaded with movies, TV shows and more, and newly installed Alaska seats will come with “integrated tablet holders.”

Alaska is loading the current Virgin RED systems with content that it says matches its own offerings.

The only other US airlines that offer free live TV are American, JetBlue, Southwest.

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