Virgin America passengers "test-fly" free Google Chromebook laptops

By John Walton, July 1 2011
Virgin America passengers

Travelling to the USA soon? Here's a world-first perk of flying Virgin America for domestic hops: passengers can take free "test-flights" of the new Chromebook ultralight laptop from Google -- plus, they'll get free wi-fi on board if they do.

You'll pick up your loaner Chromebook, which Google is positioning (perhaps rather optimistically) as a "MacBook Air-killer", at a Chrome Zone kiosk near your departure gate, handing over your credit card for a holding deposit.

The promo images show the Samsung-made Chromebook, which is slightly larger than the Acer version. Samsung spruiks it as having 8.5 hours of battery life and a 12.1-inch display, while the smaller Acer has a 6-hour battery and an 11.6-inch display.

Either version should have more than enough battery for your flight. 

When you get off the plane, Google staff will be waiting for you at the gate to receive the Chromebook back.

Now, the details: it's available on all flights between Virgin America's new terminal in San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth, Boston and Chicago. The Chromebooks will be available today, 1 July, until 30 September.

Here's where to find them:

San Francisco Chrome Zone
Location: SFO Terminal 2 near Gates 51A/B
Hours: 5:00am-11:30pm

Dallas-Fort Worth Chrome Zone
Location: DFW Terminal E next to Gate E20
Hours: 5:00am-11:30pm

Chicago Chrome Zone
Location: ORD Terminal 3 Gate L3
Hours: 5:00am-12:00am

Boston Chrome Zone
Location: BOS Terminal B in Gate 37-38
Hours: 4:45am-7:30pm

While you're using the Chromebook, don't forget to check out Google's top travel search features.

(And of course, if you're flying Virgin America, don't forget to give them your Virgin Australia Velocity Rewards number to earn local reward points -- much more useful than Virgin America's Altitude reward points!)

Drop us a tweet inflight at @AusBT to tell us how the Chromebook is working out for you!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Oh damn, was kinda hoping I'd get a chance to try one out on my trip back to LAX in a few weeks' time... Guess it's not to be :(

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