In-flight entertainment options are taking off: Virgin America announced a new partnership with Netflix today that will provide complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi to the streaming service’s subscribers, meaning that they’ll be able to binge-watch to their heart’s content.
The #NetflixOnboard partnership will affect the 10 new Airbus A320 aircraft being added to the Virgin America fleet between now and mid-2016. Each plane will be equipped with next-genearation satellite-based Ka-band Wi-Fi equipment from ViaSat, which provides the 140-gigabits-per-second Internet access needed for streaming – 8 to 10 times faster than older in-flight Wi-Fi systems. The first aircraft’s maiden voyage is today, and its passengers – or at least those with Netflix accounts or who sign up for a free trial onboard – will be able to enjoy the entire library on their phones, tablets, or laptops, at no added cost. Internet fees will, however, apply on flights after March 2, 2016.
Virgin America is also offering House of Cards seasons 1-3 for free at every seatback with upgraded Red touchscreens as part of the airline’s effort to enhance to the onboard experience. “These latest generation investments in our Wi-Fi and entertainment platforms allow us to provide the largest breadth of streamed content ever available at 35,000 feet – along with entire seasons of some Netflix favorites via the Red platform,” says Abby Lunardini, Virgin America vice president of Brand Marketing and Communications, in a press release.
To celebrate the partnership, a House of Cards and Netflix-branded aircraft was unveiled today. On top of that, Michael Kelly, who plays Doug Stamper on the show, will fly from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., today on Virgin America Flight 1 and address passengers in character before takeoff. His fellow travelers will even get to enjoy a signature cocktail called the Whiskey Whistleblower.
It seems safe to say that travelers on these select Virgin America flights will enjoy the addition of Netflix. Binge-watching may just be just what’s needed to make a long flight more bearable.