Virgin America Teams Up With Google to Give Holiday Travelers the Gift of Connection with Free Gogo Inflight Internet
Virgin America, the airline that is reinventing domestic travel, today announced an exclusive partnership with Google to offer free in-flight WiFi to all of its guests during the holidays. The two California-based companies known for innovation, entrepreneurialism and for connecting people in new ways, have again joined forces to give Virgin America fliers the gift of in-flight connection during the holiday travel season. From Nov. 10, 2009 – Jan. 15, 2010, guests on all Virgin America flights will be able to check email, gift shop online, stay in touch with family and friends via social media, or just go wherever the web takes them – all for free. In May, Virgin America became the first airline to offer Gogo Inflight Internet service on every flight.
“Since the launch of WiFi on all of our planes, we’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from travelers,” said Porter Gale, Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America. “We’ve found that both business and leisure travelers are using the service at a growing rate, and many consider the availability of in-flight WiFi one of the key factors in their booking decision. We’re thrilled to team up with Google to deliver this special holiday gift to our loyal guests. We also hope it persuades more new users to try out the service -as once people try Gogo, they rarely go back.”
Virgin America is the first airline to offer both standard power outlets near every seat and fleet-wide Gogo Inflight Internet service. The airline estimates that currently 12-15 percent of its guests are using the Gogo service. On some of the airline’s long-haul routes (like BOS-SFO), the carrier is reporting that up to 20-25 percent of guests on a given flight are logging in.
“As millions of people pass through airports this holiday season in order to celebrate with their families, we wanted to give our users a gift – one that makes their travel easier and more convenient,” said Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at Google. “The fundamental power of the Internet is in connecting people, and we hope that having a free WiFi connection while enroute will make home and family seem that much closer.”
A recent survey of Virgin America frequent fliers showed that guests are using WiFi in a variety of ways and consider the ability to stay connected a key in-flight amenity. Top-line results from the survey* include:
- More than half of respondents said that the availability of WiFi would influence their choice of airline.
- The availability of in-flight power outlets is also a factor for many in choosing to fly with Virgin America.
- 72% agreed that VOIP should continue to be blocked to keep the cabin environment quiet.
- 53% of respondents carry a laptop on board. Of those that connected to Gogo, 88% used a laptop.
- Email is the most popular activity while using in-flight WiFi, followed by working remotely and social media.
Although guests traveling on any of Virgin America’s over 100 daily flights from Nov. 10, 2009-Jan. 15, 2010, will enjoy free web access via their laptops or PDAs, the Gogo service is normally available for $12.95 for flights of over three hours; $9.95 for flights between 1.5 and three hours; $5.95 for short haul flights of less than 1.5 hours and handheld/PDA pricing of $7.95 for flights over 1.5 hours.