VIRGIN AMERICA UPGRADES RED™ IN–FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT PLATFORM:
FLYERS CAN NOW ADD MAPPING, SHOPPING AND OPEN TAB BAR HOPPING TO THEIR FLIGHT PLAN
Red Touch-Screen Entertainment Platform Upgrades Include an Open Tab Service, Next Gen Google Maps and the First-Ever Digital In-Flight Shopping Platform
San Francisco – July 22, 2010 – Virgin America today unveils some big changes to the award-winning Red™ entertainment platform, which will allow travelers access to a host of new amenities, including next generation, enhanced terrain view Google Maps, an open tab service for the airline’s one-of-a-kind on-demand menu and the first ever seatback in-flight digital shopping platform. As of today, travelers on Virgin America will be able to browse hundreds of products and place orders from their seatback touch-screens via the Red store – the first seatback digital shopping platform in the North American skies, powered by SkyMall.
"From our 2007 launch, our mission has been to harness new technology and design to reinvent the flying experience and give guests more comfort, choice and control. Red was already the largest and most advanced in-flight entertainment platform in North America, but these latest enhancements will give guests even more options," said David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America. "The debut of enhanced Google Maps, shopping and even an open tab are all firsts in the in-flight entertainment space, and we intend to keep investing in our system in order to deliver the best in-flight experience in the skies."
With the Red store, Virgin America and SkyMall have teamed up to give flyers the chance to shop from their seatback at 35,000 feet from hundreds of top brands like Sony, Canon, Sharp and Michael Kors. Products range from the Sony PSP with 1 game (retails for $329.00 and earns 658 Elevate program points) to the latest Michael Kors tote (retails for $268.00 and earns 536 Elevate program points). The debut of the Red Store marks the first time that SkyMall has developed a product line designed specifically for purchase through an airline seat-back entertainment system. In addition to a unique in-flight shopping experience and a range of best-selling products, purchases made in the sky via the Red store will allow guests to earn two points toward the airline’s Elevate Frequent Flyer Program for every one dollar spent.
"We are thrilled to bring our first interactive seatback shopping experience and a unique collection of cutting-edge products to Virgin America guests," said Jay Scannell, COO of SkyMall. "This is a logical step for our company as we continue to expand our merchandise offering and focus on new technology for both airlines and loyalty program partners. The Red store is a perfect example of SkyMall innovation coupled with our ability to customize the product selection to align with the preferences of Virgin America’s guests.
Travelers on Virgin America flights this month will also see a host of new amenities and added features to the Red system, including:
* Google Maps upgrades: Virgin America’s previous Google Maps platform led the industry with interactive maps with multiple levels of zoom. The enhanced system will feature terrain view maps with fresher images and eight levels of zoom functionality, so travelers can see the actual topography over which they are flying.
* An "open tab": Guests can now swipe their credit card just once per flight and order food, cocktails, movies and more – and keep a tab running during the flight. With one swipe, travelers can peruse and purchase items, including bar hopping (or ordering drinks for the plane), ordering from our award-winning food menu and watching latest release Hollywood movies on demand – all with one swipe. The tab will stay open until a guest closes it, or until the plane descends and reaches 10,000 feet at which time it will automatically be closed. Virgin America has been cashless since its launch in August 2007;
* Premium food pairings: Virgin America is now providing suggestions on pairings that come at a discounted price via our unique Red in-flight menu system. Pairing examples include a Pacific brie and turkey sandwich, paired with PopChips and Peach White Honest Tea available for $13.60;
* A custom bar: In July, in addition to its regular selection of cocktails, Virgin America launches its "Cocktails with Altitude" custom bar, which was developed with the input of frequent flyers, social media fans and in-flight teammates. Guests can select a "Mile High-Tini" from their Red touch-screen, swipe a credit card and the makings of a custom cocktail (illy issimo Iced Cappuccino + vodka) will be brought to them via tray service. Other cocktails include "Tequila Tea," top-shelf Tequila + Peach White Honest Tea and the "Sweet Tree," eco-friendly VeeV Acai Spirit + cranberry juice.
For a video tour of the new upgrades to Red, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io39lxCIIBo .
"We’re pleased to continue working with Virgin America to offer the most detailed seatback maps in the skies," said Jesse Friedman, Product Marketing Manager for Google Maps. "With fresh data presented in our beautiful terrain view, this update improves travelers’ ability and desire to track their flight progression as it happens. Flying is simply more fun when you can explore what's below."
Virgin America is the only airline in the U.S. with a touch-screen seatback menu that allows guests to order what they want, when they want it during a flight. The California-based carrier offers one of the largest selections of fresh menu items, with a focus on locally-produced options. Since its launch in August 2007, Virgin America has captured a list of travel industry best-in-class awards including, "Best Domestic Airline for Food" in Travel + Leisure 2009 World’s Best Awards readers’ survey and the World Airline Entertainment Association’s "Best Single Achievement in In-Flight Entertainment" for Red’s on-demand food menu.
"Investment in our product is a core part of our business model and will allow us to stay ahead of the competition and win over consumers. Onboard ancillary revenue is a growing revenue stream for us and all airlines, and we want to drive it in a way that gives travelers more value-added options they will appreciate. Believe it or not: custom cocktails, food pairings, an open tab and shop have all not only been part of our Red roadmap from launch, but they’ve also been requested by our guests, " added Cush.
Virgin America offers innovative features that appeal to today’s tech-savvy travelers, including power outlets, fleetwide WiFi and the Red™ seatback platform, which offers touch-screen and remote control interactivity and a wealth of content and options, including:
* "Watch": Live satellite TV, cached specialty channels, +30 on-demand films, premium TV like HBO and an on-demand music video library;
* "Play": A variety of videogames, including cult favorites like DOOM, navigated by a Qwerty keyboard handset at every seat;
* "Talk": A seat-to-seat chat feature inside the aircraft, so guests can chat with someone in a nearby seat. Guest can also block unwanted chat requests;
* "Journey": Interactive Google Maps, now with terrain-view, that zoom at eight levels and track the aircraft in-flight;
* "Eat": a first-of-its-kind on-demand menu system that allows guests to order what they want, when they want it during a flight;
* "Shop": an on-demand shopping section powered by SkyMall with hundreds of products;
* "Listen": a 3,000 MP3 library and platform to create playlists in-flight.
With outstanding service and beautifully designed new planes, Virgin America has earned a loyal guest following, experienced significant growth and swept all the major reader-based travel awards since its launch. Virgin America offers over 100 flights a day and flies to: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Toronto and starting October 6, 2010 – Orlando. Virgin America has flown more than nine million guests since its inaugural flights in August 2007.
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About Virgin America:
Headquartered in California and launched in 2007, Virgin America is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time and currently employs over 1600 people. Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline’s base of operations is San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flig
ht entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear. Virgin America offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via its touch-screen Red™ seatback platform. In addition to a +30-film library including Oscar winners, foreign language films and Hollywood blockbusters, Red features live TV, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, 3,000 MP3s, music videos, interactive Google maps and more. In just three years flying, Virgin America was named "Best Domestic Airline in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008 and 2009 Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 World's Best Awards. Elevate is Virgin America's first-of-its-kind loyalty program, which offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat — on any Virgin America flight, at any time. For more: www.virginamerica.com
SkyMall is a multi-channel, direct marketer to consumers and a provider of turn-key merchandise and fulfillment solutions for loyalty marketing programs, offering high-quality, innovative merchandise from top brands and manufacturers. The SkyMall catalog is seen by approximately 88% of all passengers carried by U.S. airlines reaching nearly 620 million air travelers annually. The SkyMall catalog and loyalty programs are supported by online shopping sites, mobile apps, handheld point-of-sale terminals (POS), in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, on-site promotional events, and social marketing.