Virgin America Unveils Airline Product Details on LetVAFly.com
BURLINGAME, CA – (January 17, 2007) – Virgin America, a new U.S.-based start-up airline, today for the first time offered a look at elements of its airline product at www.LetVAFly.com, including the interior environment and details of the onboard products. The Web site offers a visual tour of the cabins and encourages travelers to share in the Virgin America travel experience and campaign to launch the airline.
Upgraded features onboard Virgin America's new Airbus A320s include mood lighting, enhanced seating in both the lavish first class and high-quality main cabins, contemporary class dividers and a self-service mini bar. These new aircraft also will feature Virgin America's innovative "Red System" of in-flight entertainment (IFE) products. The quality of the airline's launch product is a reflection of the Virgin America brand and its mission to create an airline people love.
The Aircraft Interior Environment
The interior's aesthetic was conceived and designed by Virgin America. To realize Virgin America's vision, the airline collaborated with some of the most innovative suppliers operating in their respective fields, including Airbus, Recaro Aircraft Seating, Diehl Luftfahrt Elektronik (mood-lighting systems), Driessen AIS (galleys and mini bar) and C&D Zodiac (class dividers).
"Virgin America's interior has been created to offer its guests a better experience, with unique, enhanced products designed to please and entertain," said Virgin America Design Director Adam Wells. "We simply want to make air travel better – today's airline passenger is paying for an experience that is at-best tolerable. If we are successful, passengers can expect Virgin America to deliver future innovation that ensures the flying experience keeps getting better and better."
The first-ever in the U.S. mood lighting system was custom developed with Airbus and technology partner Diehl Luftfahrt Elektronik – it is unique to Virgin America and to the aircraft type. The system detail includes:
- mood lighting in both front and main cabins;
- color tones and levels that slowly change over time, relative to external conditions, and help guests look and feel good;
- daylight, dusk, sleep and dawn modes among others;
- personal overhead reading lights, and
- color-tinted windowpanes that supplement the system by reducing glare and unattractive tones inherent to daylight.
Both First Class and the main cabin will offer state-of-the-art entertainment system hardware:
- touch-sensitive 9-inch widescreen entertainment systems deployed from the central armrests;
- in-arm entertainment handsets with backlit hot-buttons, full ‘qwerty' keyboards and gaming controls, and
- adaptor-free 110v power, USB and RJ-45 jacks at every seat with standard headphone sockets.
The First Class cabin will have just eight seats set in a room-like environment. Special features of the First Class cabin begin with its luxurious seating, manufactured by Recaro Aircraft Seating to Virgin America's specification:
- ‘international grade' 55-inch seat pitch – far more space than comparable classes;
- 21 inches of seat width between armrests, with 28 inches of personal space including the armrests;
- 13 inches of recline with extended leg and footrests;
- plush off-white leather seats with soft upholstery and black armrest pods;
- electronic recline control: intuitive, backlit switches with presets for take-off, comfort and relaxation;
- headrests with large adjustable wings and height adjustment;
- electronically-controlled lumbar support: with height and firmness adjustment at the touch of a button;
- in-seat massage function;
- independently adjustable leg & footrests;
- personal reading lights, and
- an in-arm dining table with size and position flexibility as well as a book holder mode.
Virgin America's main cabin will have a 141-seat configuration. Also manufactured by Recaro Aircraft Seating for Virgin America, main cabin seating was substantially customized to provide highly-coveted additional leg room. Specifically, the main cabin will have:
- 32-inch general seat pitch;
- hidden under-floor electronics boxes, providing all seats an unobstructed foot well;
- a seat structure with greater knee clearance than traditional seats at the same pitch;
- 19.7-inch average seat width (measured between the centerlines of two adjacent armrests);
- 5-inch average seat recline;
- luxurious black leather, soft upholstery and hi-gloss white plastics;
- headrests with adjustable wings as well as height and tilt adjustment;
- enhanced lumbar support, and
- contoured seat-pan structures, unlike the metal bars that can be felt through traditional seats.
Unique class dividers with a contemporary design separate the cabins in vibrant, transparent color, redefining the relationship between classes, transforming traditionally claustrophobic seat rows and reinforcing the lounge-like qualities of the cabin. This product was conceived and designed by Virgin America and engineered and manufactured by C&D Zodiac Inc.
A mini-bar at the rear of the aircraft provides guests a self-service station that will be loaded with products and refreshments from Virgin America's retail, food and drink partners. This product was conceived by Virgin America and co-designed, engineered and manufactured by Driessen AIS.
Unique main cabin lavatory locations (behind the aft doors) mean that no seated passenger is adjacent to a restroom. Virgin America will also feature a music selection in the lavatories.
The Red System
"The Red System is a comprehensive interactive environment where passengers are active participants in their entertainment experience – they truly can create, discover and enjoy their own in-flight experiences," says Charles Ogilvie, Virgin America's Director of In-flight Entertainment & Partnerships.
With a goal of giving the airline guest the control, Virgin America designed the Red System using a clean-slate design approach. Virgin America also developed the Red System so that it can operate effectively as a networked platform on launch and be able to interface effectively with external systems ranging from reservations systems to credit card processors to Virgin America's caterer. In addition, the entire Red System was designed to be compatible with broadband once it is introduced for use with seatback and passenger laptops in the future.
Special features of the Red System include:
- meals on-demand with an in-flight shopping system, allowing passengers to order what they want, when they want it;
- Hollywood pay-per-view movies provided by Virgin America partners including Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers;
- live satellite TV from Dish Network;
- the first ever in-flight program guide (IPG) for live television, allowing guests to plan their time spent viewing entertainment more effectively;
- games – a batch of open source games and an upcoming public invitation for savvy ground-based Linux game designers to try their hand designing games and in-flight applications for the Red System;
- Virgin America Audio – an unprecedented audio experience with over 3,000 mp3 tracks and 20 radio channels, allowing guests to customize their playlists, to share playlists and take them with on future flights;
- wireless access throughout the cabin, for passenger laptop and flight attendant handheld access, as well as for high-speed air-to-ground broadband connectivity in the future;
- a "quicknav" application that provides a site map of the entire experience;
- email and SMS messaging, that allows guests to send emails, SMS messages or chat with each other during the flight, and
- an info/help feature that includes a response to the questions "Where are we? How much further?"
The Red System was brought to life by a team made up of CoKinetic, Wunderman's digital marketing team, IMS and Panasonic Avionics. CoKinetic and Panasonic coded and integrated software and Wunderman built Red's graphical user interface (GUI). Virgin America's IFE team also includes Anomaly, Inflight Canada, Pace Communications and Spafax, as well as content partners Disney, Echostar, Fox, Paramount and Warner Brothers.
"Every aspect of Virgin America's IFE Red System looks at both how a guest would use the system now and in the future. We wanted to make sure the system will grow with our guests and the predicted entry of broadband in airborne environments," remarked Mr. Ogilvie. "Real-time airborne connectivity exponentially increases the functionality we have built into this system. The richness of our guest offering more than doubles for every couple of kilobytes of an internet pipe we can make available to the computers we've installed at our guests' seats."
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About Virgin America:
Virgin America, a 'new generation' low-fare airline, intends to launch scheduled domestic airline service in 2007 upon government approval. U.S.-owned and operated, Virgin America is based at San Francisco International Airport. To learn more about getting Virgin America off the ground, visit www.LetVAFly.com