Virgin Australia starts inflight wifi movies, music this week

By David Flynn, December 17 2012

Virgin Australia will this week begin trials of an inflight wireless system which can broadcast movies, TV shows and music straight to a traveller's own tablet, laptop or smartphone.

A Boeing 737-800 – which Virgin Australia confirms as bearing the registration number VH-YID – has been fitted out for the four week test, ith Virgin Australia now offering free iPad and iPhone apps which let passengers tune into the programming.

However the wifi technology, which uses Lufthansa Systems' BoardConnect platform, doesn't include Internet access.

The iPad and iPhone apps let you tune into Virgin's inflight entertainment to enjoy over 300 hours of free movies, TV shows and music.

Virgin has also beefed up its apps with 'offboard' information about the airline, the airports and destinations it serves.

Download: Virgin Australia In-flight Entertainment for iPad and iPhone

Windows and Mac laptops running Microsoft's Silverlight web software can also enjoy the programming, with a special Wireless In-Flight Entertainment System Check web page to ensure your kit supports Virgin's streaming system.

Lufthansa Systems also ran the Qantas Q Streaming trial earlier this year, although the eventual rollout of Q Streaming across Qantas' Boeing 767 fleet was done in concert with Panasonic Avionics.

More on Q Streaming: AusBT's full video and review of the system plus a deeper dive into the technology itself.

Virgin already offers wifi content streaming on several flight using its own Samsung Galaxy tablets which are carried on board in limited numbers and supplied to travellers.

The trial is scheduled to run to late January, with Virgin then aiming to introduce it across the rest of its domestic fleet.

"Subject to it being successful – which we expect it to be – we'll start the (fleet-wide) fit-out round about February, and by the end of 2013 we'll have a large part of our fleet done" Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller last month.

As to which aircraft will see the upgrade, "Obviously we're going to do the aircraft without IFE first" Borghetti said, "and then the last aircraft to be done will be the 330s. Although they've got a very good (IFE) system in place, for product consistency we want to make sure they too have the WiFi."

Upgrading each aircraft with the necessary hardware, including a content server and a handful of wifi hotspots, is a relatively quick task, Borghetti explained.

"When the aircraft's parked at night you do the work, and within two or three nights you've done an aeroplane. So effectively you can move very quickly and do the whole fleet... within 12 to 18 months."

For more on Virgin Australia's inflight entertainment streaming trial, visit the airline's What is Wireless In-flight Entertainment? page

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David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

KC

KC

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 21

The A330's have a good IFE system? Maybe the new ones but XFA and XFB are apalling for IFE. I would have thought that to ensure the maintenance of a high end product on the A330 fleet that these two would be done first as they are reportedly hanging around for a few more years yet !!!

Any new's / advice on Android app devices?

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 724

For some people (especially those in Y), A330's IFE is better than no IFE. Fitting aircraft with no IFE first is a sensible priority.

Dom T

Dom T

16 Dec 2012

Total posts 3

Lufthansa Systems already have android app called my mediaworld, so I imagine that it won't take too long for Virgn to put out an android app.

They also produce one called Fly Fi for Condor.

aero-seat

aero-seat

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

Awesome! I think they're the first to have something like that in Australia! That's good for business travellers. Just wondering, how do you find out which plane has the exact registration number? I am never able to find them when booking.

shragi

shragi

QF - Red

23 Nov 2012

Total posts 30

Is anyone else finding it really frustrating that there are two types of A330's doing the MEL-PER route??? some are fully refubed with on-demand video and some have the old 6 movie channels with continuous playback.

Anyone know how to distinguish between the two when booking???

 

Cheers,

Les

aero-seat

aero-seat

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

Les, I'm no expert when dealing with planes but I think it might have something to do with the rego of the aircraft. The ex-Emirates aircraft will have the boring channels while the new product has the Red system. It's similar to my comment above.

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 724

VH-XFA and VH-XFB are the ex-Emirates aircraft. When booking they have 2-3-2 in J as opposed to 2-2-2 for the new aircraft (VH-XFC/D/E). 

LiamR

LiamR

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2011

Total posts 42

This is great, but I hope when they roll this system out they roll out power points too. This is a great way to drain my battery.


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