Google And Virgin America To Offer Free WiFi During The Holidays

By: Mike Sachoff - October 20, 2009

Virgin America has partnered with Google to offer free in-flight WiFi to all of its passengers during the holidays.

From November 10 to January 15, 2010, passengers on all Virgin America flights will be able to access email, shop online and visit social networks free of charge. In May Virgin became the first airline to offer Gogo Inflight Internet service on every flight.

"Since the launch of WiFi on all of our planes, we’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from travelers," said Porter Gale, Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America.

"We’ve found that both business and leisure travelers are using the service at a growing rate, and many consider the availability of in-flight WiFi one of the key factors in their booking decision."

Marissa Mayer, Google, VP of Search Products and User Experience
Marissa Mayer, Google
VP of Search Products
and User Experience

Virgin estimates that currently 12-15 percent of its passengers are using the Gogo service. On some of the airline’s long-haul routes, the carrier is reporting that up to 20-25 percent of passengers are using the Gogo service.

Highlights of a recent Virgin America survey include:

  •  More than half of respondents said that the availability of WiFi would influence their choice of airline.
  •  The availability of in-flight power outlets is also a factor for many in choosing to fly with Virgin America.
  •  72% agreed that VOIP should continue to be blocked to keep the cabin environment quiet.
  •  53% of respondents carry a laptop on board.  Of those that connected to Gogo, 88% used a laptop.
  •  Email is the most popular activity while using in-flight WiFi, followed by working remotely and social media.

"As millions of people pass through airports this holiday season in order to celebrate with their families, we wanted to give our users a gift – one that makes their travel easier and more convenient," said Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at Google.

"The fundamental power of the Internet is in connecting people, and we hope that having a free WiFi connection while enroute will make home and family seem that much closer."

Mike Sachoff

About the Author

Mike SachoffMike is a staff writer for WebProNews.

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  • Craig Jull

    Great news! Wish all the airlines would follow suit.
    Such a waist of time sitting on a airplane for hours when you need to make contact and work.