Virgin America Launches Gogo Inflight Internet Service And Youtube Air
First Wi-Fi Enabled Plane Hosts Air-to-Ground Video Stream to YouTubeLive
35,000 feet above San Francisco - Nov. 22, 2008 - Virgin America, the California-based airline, today announced live from its first Wi-Fi enabled plane, the successful beta launch of Gogo® Inflight Internet and the first ever "air-to-ground" video stream to YouTube Live - YouTube's first official real-world user event.
At the time of this release, filed from 35,000 feet, the carrier's first Wi-Fi enabled plane is circling the skies above San Francisco with special guests, media, and all-star bloggers testing out Gogo on laptops, smartphones and PDAs. Also onboard, YouTube's highest viewed users are joining NBC 30 Rock stars Katrina Bowden and Keith Powell for a live "YouTube Air" skit streamed to the YouTube Live audience on the ground and on-line.
"As San Francisco's only hometown airline, we couldn't do less than offer Wi-Fi as a standard option for our tech-savvy guests. With power outlets at every seat, Gogo will turn our planes into Wi-Fi hotspots and home offices in the air," said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. "We're proud to team up with two innovative companies - Aircell and YouTube - to launch this service with the latest technology, a sense of humor, and of course, an inflight party."
The Wi-Fi enabled aircraft will be flying all over the U.S. as a Thanksgiving surprise to guests starting on Nov. 24. Following the beta period, Gogo will be quickly added to additional aircraft and pricing will be set at $12.95 for flights over 3 hours and $9.95 for flights of 3 hours or fewer. By the second quarter of 2009, Virgin America will be the first U.S. carrier to offer inflight internet fleet-wide.
The first Wi-Fi enabled plane (N638VA) can be tracked in real time via Google Maps at: http://wifitracker.virginamerica.com. During the beta period, the airline is encouraging its frequent fliers and Wi-Fi advisory board members to provide feedback on the service.
"Today marks another important milestone in the history of Inflight Internet as Virgin America begins the first fleet-wide roll out of Gogo and hosts the world's first-ever, live air-to-ground video stream," said Jack Blumenstein, Aircell President and CEO. "We're excited to launch Gogo in such a forward-thinking, cutting edge manner and look forward to all the possibilities this launch brings. 2009 will truly be the year of Inflight Internet."
Right now on the flight, guests are live-posting from HP ultra-portable notebooks. As the exclusive PC vendor for the flight, HP provided lightweight, powerful and sleek-in-design notebooks that are keeping guests connected from air to ground. Flight guests are enjoying California Brut provided by San Diego-based KARMA, customized Skullcandy headsets and Blue Microphone's Snowflake, the world's first portable USB mic.
Self-directed videos from some of YouTube's highest-viewed stars and a special message from Virgin Group Founder and Chairman Sir Richard Branson premiered on the Red™ system earlier in the flight. The videos, posted to the carrier's YouTube channel earlier this month, have already received more than one million views.
"Virgin America and YouTube are both progressive brands known for forward thinking and innovation," said Chris Di Cesare, YouTube's Head of Marketing. "Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet will be game changing for the YouTube community, and we're proud to be a part of Virgin America's kick-off of the service during YouTube Live."
Virgin America offers a host of next generation amenities including power outlets at every seat, seat-to-seat chat, a digital food menu, the award-winning digital touch-screen Red™ entertainment system - and now Gogo Inflight Internet on every flight by the second quarter of 2009.
Virgin America flies daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, SFO to SEA, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, LAX to SEA, and JFK to LAS.
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Virgin America: Abby Lunardini, (650) 533-7576/ firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S. controlled and operated airline and an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.
About Virgin America:
Launched in August 2007, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. Virgin America's base of operations is San Francisco International Airport's ultra-modern International Terminal. The airline's new Airbus A320-family aircraft offer interactive inflight entertainment systems and power outlets for electronic gear. In 2008, Virgin America was named "Best Domestic Airline in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards. To learn more: www.virginamerica.com
To check out the carrier's YouTube channel, visit: www.youtube.com/virginamerica
About YouTube Live:
YouTube Live is part concert, part variety show and part party, and will bring together some of the amazing videos and unforgettable individuals that have contributed towards making YouTube what it is today. The Nov. 22 event will feature Internet-born stars like Soulja Boy Tell'em, Esmee Denters, and 'Canon Rock' virtuoso Funtwo, as well as Internet-savvy mainstream starts like Will. I. Am and Akon. YouTube Live will be Executive Produced by former MTV veteran Salli Frattini.
Aircell® is the world's leading provider of airborne communications. As winner of an exclusive FCC frequency license in 2006, Aircell has built a revolutionary mobile broadband network for commercial and business aviation. In 2008, the Aircell Network and its inflight portal, Gogo®, revolutionized the commercial airline passenger flight experience by delivering a robust Internet experience at 35,000 feet. In addition, the Aircell Network provides airlines with connectivity to operations and a path to enhanced cabin services such as video, audio, television and more. A similar feature set is available to Business aircraft operators. Aircell has facilities in Broomfield, Colorado, and Itasca, Illinois. Aircell's vision is to give everyone the ability to stay in touch, in flight®. For more information about Aircell, please visit www.aircell.com.
Gogo®, powered by Aircell, turns a commercial airplane into a Wi-Fi hotspot with true inflight Internet access. Passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs, can surf the Web, check any e-mail, Instant Message, access a corporate VPN and more. For more information about Gogo, please visit www.gogoinflight.com. © 2008 Aircell LLC. Gogo is a trademark of Aircell or its affiliates.
HP will serve as the exclusive PC vendor for Virgin America's beta internet flight and will assist the air-to-ground YouTube Live broadcast via HP notebooks. The company's portfolio of ultra-portable notebooks will be available for guests who want a lightweight, powerful and fashionable notebook that keeps them connected on-the-go. Whether a frequent business traveler, weekend island hopper or entertainment gamer, HP offers customers a variety of personal notebook choices that include high-performance, global connectivity options for Wi-Fi or Gobi technology, durable exteriors and overall sleek designs. The HP ultra-portable notebooks featured onboard will include: the travel warrior's HP EliteBook 2530p, miniature companion HP Mini 2133, multi-media HP Pavilion dv3500, and the luxurious Voodoo Envy 133.
About Blue Microphones:
Blue Microphones designs and produces an extensive line of award-winning microphones and recording tools for audio professionals, musicians and consumers. Founded in 1995, and headquartered in Southern California, Blue continues a lengthy tradition of innovative, cutting-edge design and astounding performance, with a range of inspiring recording tools for most any application. From Blue's flagship recording tool, the Bottle, to our stylish Snowflake USB mic, or our new Mikey iPod Recorder, Blue has just the tool to capture your creativity. Check out the complete range of Blue products at www.bluemic.com
Skullcandy designs headphones, mp3 player watches, audio accessories and other audio-enabled lifestyle products, such as backpacks with built-in speakers and iPod controls. Skullcandy also collaborates with select brands to integrate its audio technology into products from snow helmets to outerwear, apparel, packs and bags. Skullcandy gear is sold worldwide through top retailers and specialty outlets. Learn more online at www.skullcandy.com. Skullcandy is based in Park City, Utah.