It’s full steam ahead for the roll out of Virgin Australia’s innovative wireless in-flight entertainment system across their domestic and short-haul international network.
Warren Hamilton from Virgin Australia tells us about the initiative that allows passengers to stream content direct to their own device while flying.
“When we launched the technology in August last year we had 18 aircraft equipped. There’s been a rapid installation process – we now have around 65 aircraft enabled and we have plans to continue the roll out even further. At this point, we hope to have around 90 aircraft fitted by the second quarter of 2014,” said Warren.
“The feedback we’ve received from passengers has been really positive. With all new technology, there’s always a settling in period; it takes a little while for people to learn the new system and in this case to download the application to their iPhone or tablet before they get on-board. But once passengers have learnt to set it up themselves, it’s been well received.”
The team at VA were looking around for the next big thing in in-flight entertainment. They examined many of the current entertainment systems available but it was the wireless option that ticked all the boxes. Their research showed that travellers already carried personal devices onto planes and were familiar with wireless technology. The next step was to find a supplier to match the airline’s aims; it was Lufthansa that already had a working prototype.
The wireless signal installed on board the aircraft streams content direct to smartphones, laptops and tablets.
At the time of the launch, Virgin Australia’s Chief Customer Office Mark Hassell said, “We were instantly drawn to this technology because it represents a quantum change in the way entertainment is experienced in the sky. Our customers are the first in the region to be able to stream content to their very own personal device and the feedback we are receiving is fantastic.”
“Wireless technology also gives us the freedom to constantly enhance the content and functionality, which is valued by customers who travel regularly on these short to medium-haul flights. With the origins of the Virgin brand in entertainment, there is no limit to the expertise and unique content we can leverage around the world to continually offer our customers the best entertainment in the sky."
It’s the intention that over time the wireless option will become the back bone of Virgin Australia’s entertainment system.
Warren has this advice for passengers wanting to catch up on the latest blockbuster film.
“Before boarding, there’s a simple three step process to make sure each device is ready to stream the entertainment on board. The first step is to download the app from the app store or google play. The next step is to activate the system by opening the App on the device while being connected to the internet. And the final step is for passengers who have downloaded the app previously to make sure they have the latest release,” said Warren.
“Once you’re on the aircraft, it’s a simple one touch to access all the entertainment on board.”