Virgin America Tuesday announced plans for the next iteration of Red, its state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system. The tech-savvy airline, the first to offer fleet-wide Wi-Fi back in 2009, expects its new entertainment system to hit the skies sometime in late 2012.
Improvements to the in-flight experience will be vast, with larger high-def seatback monitors, full Wi-Fi connectivity, and nearly four times the amount of entertainment content currently available. This is an addition to the major upgrades announced earlier this year which added live NFL and MLB games to Virgin America's lineup.
The airline is placing strong emphasis on allowing passengers to sync up their personal devices with the new version of Red, saying that this will play an integral part of the new in-flight experience. While most airlines are turning attention away from in-flight entertainment and focusing solely on providing Wi-Fi, Virgin America believes that is not enough. According to the airline, usage of Red is up 20% since 2008, despite the introduction of fleet-wide Wi-Fi.
It seems many passengers switch back and forth between their Wi-Fi enabled devices and Red entertainment options during a typical flight. Noting this tendency of in-flight multi-tasking, Virgin America hopes to capitalize by providing seamless integration of the two.
Passengers on flights to San Francisco aboard the airline’s hash-tag inspiried #nerdbird A320 are expected to get first crack at the new version of Red. Back-end testing of the new entertainment system will start in the coming months.