Virgin America Gets Sexier with WiFi Seatbacks

Free seatback access to Facebook, Twitter coming soon.

By RJ Middleton
|  Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011  |  Updated 4:41 PM PDT
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Virgin America Gets Sexier with WiFi

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Richard Branson has much to smile about, as his Virgin America airline is now losing much less money than it was a year ago.

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In the "innovate or die" paradigm, Virgin America is putting some (more) distance between itself and other carriers.

The San Francisco-based airline was the first to provide WiFi to passengers, which was great if those passengers were sporting a tablet, phone or lappie. But what about those without such devices? Or those who wished they didn't have to schlep that extra carry-on?

Virgin is now going to provide WiFi through a new in-flight entertainment system, replacing its distinctive Red In-Flight Entertainment system with "help from Lufthansa," GigaOM reports.

The announcement, made Sept. 13 in Seattle, said the new system will "have content and services offered both via the seatback system and guests' personal electronic devices." The seatbacks will include social media apps, as well, but maybe not full online availability.

The airline said that a third of all customers log on during flights -- a pay-for-access service. So expect a spike in the free/apps usage, Sir Richard.

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