Virgin Blue offering Live TV on Flights

Travel News Asia Monday, 28 August 2006

The days of pre-recorded and pre-censored in-flight entertainment and news bulletins are now officially over, at least that is, for Virgin Blue travellers. Passengers on Virgin Blue flights will now be able to watch live television at 40,000 feet following today's launch of the airline's first aircraft fully fitted out with its live2air product.

Virgin Blue is currently only the fourth airline in the world to offer this revolutionary product.

live2air will be pay-per-view and will operate from the moment the aircraft pushes back to the moment it pulls up to the gate. The airline will offer a special introductory rate of A$6 for all flights. The every day rate will be A$6 for unlimited viewing on most sectors and $A9 on flights over three hours.

Once fully rolled out, every passenger will have their own personal seatback screen which can be used to access the live2air service including 24 FOXTEL and AUSTAR channels, just as they would in their own lounge room at home.

The 24 channels being provided by FOXTEL and AUSTAR for the live2air service include some of the worlds best known television brands, giving Virgin Blue passengers of all ages a wide choice of programming covering news, sport, general entertainment, documentaries, music, kids and family genres.

The introduction of Virgin Blues live2air required a range of technological advances. Virgin Blues modern Next Generation Boeing 737 aircraft underwent manufacturer, Federal Aviation Authority and Civil Aviation Safety Authority approved design modifications to allow an antenna to be incorporated into the aircraft fuselage. The live2air technology also needed to be re-designed to track and hold a unique signal from the FOXTEL/AUSTAR Australian satellite.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, This is true entertainment history in the making. It is more than a seat; its the best seat in the house on the most technologically advanced aircraft in this part of the world. Many of us remember when black and white television was replaced by colour television and the impact that that had. Today is the day we will look back and remember when live television was introduced to Australian skies.

He continued, The world doesnt stop while you are at 40,000 feet, so why should your information and entertainment? Some airlines offer one channel of pre-recorded entertainment in the form of old news bulletins but unlike our competitors one size fits all approach, live2air will offer 24 channels of live programming. There will be something individual for each individual and something suitable for everyone.

Virgin Blue will put its first live2air fitted aircraft into commercial service later this week, with the aim of having 20% of the fleet fitted out by the end of the year. Forty seven aircraft are expected to be fully fitted with the product by mid 2007.

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