Virgin Atlantic offers live TV with new inflight entertainment

by William ASTON on June 24, 2010

According to Sir Richard Branson, football fans may be able to watch the next World Cup in Brazil on live television during long-haul flights.

Virgin Atlantic passengers will be given the option of streaming live TV as part of an overhaul on the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system. By the time the biggest event in football hits Brazil in 2014, the airline will hope to have its radical new system up and running, which will include allowing passengers to view live TV, use mobile phones, and check their email.

Sir Richard outlined the revolutionary system at a celebration in Las Vegas last week. Just before England played Algeria last Friday, Sir Richard said that he was on his way to the Nevada desert and wished he could watch the game while in the air.

Virgin Atlantic has partnered with Japan-based electronics firm Panasonic for the new in-flight entertainment module. The carrier has already identified live news and sports as the essential items for offering in a live TV service. Other services may include instant messaging, online shopping, social networking, broadband internet, and mobile phone accessibility. Virgin Atlantic did confirm, however, that the services would not be free of charge, but would be substantially less than current in-flight phone calls.

Chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, Steve Ridgeway said that the ultimate goal was to allow passengers to do everything they do on the ground while in the air. The new system will debut in March 2011, and the entire fleet is expected to be outfitted with the system over a three year period.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post: British Airways braces for possible further strikes

Next post: Osborne talks Budget 2010