Up-And-Coming Airline Gets Google Maps

    July 17, 2007

Virgin America is a new airline that hopes to have some planes in the sky before September.  When this occurs, the planes will be loaded with special software – each seatback will come adorned with a Google Maps display.

Unfortunately for Virgin America, this feature won’t be entirely unique – JetBlue reached a similar deal with Google over a month ago – but there are still some neat features.

“Virgin America’s guests will be able to locate where they are, how far they are from their destination and how much time is remaining in the flight, in addition to being able to pan and zoom at eight different levels,” reports a press release.  “Guests will be able to plan their travels . . . either through a navigational toolbar on their touch-screen seatback monitor or by touching a button located within arm’s reach.”

Now there’s some PR spin for you – isn’t everything within arm’s reach in those cramped tubes?  Virgin America’s publicist has done his (or her) job well, however, and the Google Maps development is turning a lot of heads, including one at the San Francisco Business Times.

I’m not ready to choose an airline based on whether or not it has Google software on board, but then again, I wouldn’t mind seeing the search giant’s logo at 35,000 feet.