Virgin partners for on-board Wi-Fi streaming

Virgin Australia is set to partner with Lufthansa Systems to build its new Wi-Fi-based streaming media platform for in-flight entertainment, which will roll-out to the first aircraft from mid-next year.

Virgin Blue plane

(31.08.2008 image by David McKelvey, CC2.0)

Dubbed "BoardConnect", the new system will stream content to "personal media devices", including laptops. There's no word on whether this includes tablets or mobile phones yet, with the company saying it's too early to tell. Content will include movies, television, audio and games on-demand for passengers to play, as well as travel guides and Velocity rewards offers.

Virgin Australia told ZDNet Australia that it will roll-out the BoardConnect system to one of its 737 aircraft by mid next year and evaluate it from there, before a broader roll-out in future.

BoardConnect will be available in both business and economy classes, but pricing is currently unavailable.

Virgin Australia group executive of Product and Guest Services, Martin Daley, announced the new partnership between Lufthansa Systems and Virgin Australia after the two signed a letter of intent to "produce and install" the systems.

"This system, considered to be at the leading edge of in-flight entertainment technology, provides guests with a wide range of products including video and audio streaming delivered on demand to personal entertainment devices or Wi-Fi-enabled laptops.

"Our new entertainment system will provide guests with more options than ever before to tailor their in-flight entertainment experience to their personal tastes along with the freedom to choose how and when they access in-flight entertainment," Daley said in a statement today.

Virgin isn't the only Australian carrier to trial in-flight Wi-Fi from next year, with its direct competitor Qantas also announcing similar plans that would see it evaluate Wi-Fi media streaming to in-flight tablet technology.


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