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Virgin Goes Viral Video to Make Its Case

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If politicians can use YouTube to announce their presidential plans, then why can’t an airline make its case using video? Virgin America, the company started by billionaire Richard Branson, has been denied permission to operate in the U.S. on local routes because of too much foreign ownership. CEO Fred Reid is making his case in this video, and believes that if enough people get behind the company it could actually fly in the U.S. skies.

Whether or not you agree with Virgin’s agenda, there is no doubt they have one pimpin’ plane! More after the jump.

They have set up a website which is kinda kitschy but gets the message across.

As you may have heard, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively rejected Virgin America‚Äôs airline application, pending resolution of some complex issues regarding our ownership. We’re answering the DOT today and are continuing our application process. But the fight isn’t over. The real loser in this battle may be you, the traveler.

Whatever you might think of his agenda, that is one pimping plane. It is an Airbus, and is a Nerdvana of sorts. Check out the networking and entertainment features – it is something geeks can totally fall in love with. This is commoditization of hardware put to effective use. Here are some of its features:

1. You can play multi-player games with other passengers. Linux based games including DOOM are going to be available and can be played through a QWERTY keyboard.
2. Plug in your electronic devices right into the 110 volt jack, no airline adapters needed.
3. First class passengers get a RJ-45 jack to plugin your laptop and get connected.
4. It has a HUGE archive of music and it follows you on each plane so when you jump to another flight, you have all your playlists etc. saved right there for you to resume your listening. About 3,000 mp3 tracks.
5. And an OMG-worthy entertainment system. RED is what they call it, and it was developed by Virgin themselves.
6. A way to electronically shop for food, no chatting with flight attendants necessary.

There is basically a PC at every seat with a 9-inch monitor, and the applications are running on embedded Linux. The entire plane is networked via Ethernet, and in the belly of the aircraft there are three file servers and a whole bunch of paraphernalia.

Come on, who wouldn’t want to fly on a plane like that.

45 Responses to “Virgin Goes Viral Video to Make Its Case”

  1. Actually, I think the Ausie is referring to Virgin Blue, which is Virgin’s discount carrier operations in Australia. Virgin Blue is the template for Virgin America – so the idea does come from AU.

    However, the main Virgin Atlantic airline is based in the UK.

  2. Wow. If only New Zealand, or, any country had planes like that.
    The worst thing about flying? Being bored out of your skull watching a really crap movie with little kids yelling and screaming. This plane will shut them up too.

    It is the perfect solution to boring air travel :)

  3. Close to heaven, pun intended. This is a computer junkie’s dream, eases business work and just increases fun all around. With so much entertainment and functionality in each seat, what else could a passenger wish for? Unless they have yet to join the Mile HIgh Club of course.

  4. I can see why some restrictions on foreign ownership of airlines used to be helpful–it kept gobs of profit from going overseas, it kept state-sponsored airlines from taking over, it allowed the airline industry to grow.

    But with a severe minority of airlines actually making money (so most of the money would stay in the US due to cost per mile), very little actual competition (and less competition in the future), and Virgin being privately owned, I see very little harm they could do to the US market.

    This would improve competition and features for travelers, while cross-promoting Virgin associated music and video IP.

    DOT could even work with the state dept to work out offsets against profits by bringing Airbus plants & maintenance work into the US. (Which would provide Boeing real competitive pressures…and is exactly why this’ll never happen)

  5. Dude…I live in Australia…the country that Virgin comes from…and We don’t even have all that…the Virgin international planes aren’t even that god damn nice.

    I’d be behind them if I was in America…I’d kill for in-flight gaming and not having to say a word to those ditzy flight attendants.

  6. Agreed that it looks like a sweet ride, especially by our lowered and re-lowered standards for coach.

    But I’m really not sure how much this will help them get off the ground. The Department of Transportation rejected their application because of their ownership structure, not their inflight entertainment systems. See post here: