CRAWLEY: Virgin Atlantic has become the first airline in Europe to offer wi-fi across its entire fleet, ensuring customers can remain connected across flights to and from the US, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
On the Delhi – London route amongst the direct carriers, Virgin Atlantic is the only airline to offer wi-fi on-board across all cabins. From today, millions of customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic will be able to email, browse and socialise at 35,000ft as the airline completes its ambitious wi-fi programme – a year ahead of other European long haul carriers.
To celebrate being the first European airline to boast a fully WiFi connected fleet, Virgin Atlantic will be kicking off a series of fun events from the sky, connecting together with #LiveFromVirgin. One of the first #Livefromvirgin events will be a comedy set in the sky.
Using a combination of Panasonic and Gogo technology, wi-fi is now available across the fleet of 39 aircraft and connectivity is available above 10,000ft so customers will be able to connect shortly after take-off, and remain online until shortly before landing.
Results so far have shown that 42pc of customers opt for the wi-fi max package which lasts the entire flight, and the most popular routes for wi-fi use are London Heathrow to New York (JFK), San Francisco and Atlanta.
Mark Anderson, executive vice president, Customer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “From today, customers flying around the world with Virgin Atlantic can work and play throughout their flight as we become the first airline in Europe to offer a fully wi-fi enabled fleet. Innovation has always been in our blood and we’ve worked closely with WiFi providers to develop the fastest, most reliable connection across the Atlantic and are the first carrier to offer WiFi between the UK and the Caribbean, China and Africa. And of course we wouldn’t be Virgin Atlantic if we weren’t going to signify this moment with something special, so we’ve planned a summer of spectacular #LiveFromVirgin events for our customers. Keep an eye out on our social channels for your chance to get involved.”
Whilst wi-fi has been commonplace on domestic carriers, there’s been a challenge for the industry to find reliable connections over vast expanses of ocean – such as the Atlantic. Unlike flying over Europe or the US, the signal cannot come from the ground and instead has to be transmitted to aircraft from satellites.
The airline is using a combination of two wi-fi providers across the network; customers travelling on the 787 will use wi-fi from Panasonic, while the A330s, 747s, A340-600s are powered by Gogo technology.
As of today, Virgin Atlantic and partner Delta Air Lines will be the only fully connected transatlantic joint venture – keeping business customers and holidaymakers connected on up to 39 transatlantic flights per day.