Virgin America has unveiled changes to its Red in-flight entertainment platform which will allow travelers access to new amenities, including enhanced terrain-view Google Maps,...

Virgin America has unveiled changes to its Red in-flight entertainment platform which will allow travelers access to new amenities, including enhanced terrain-view Google Maps, an open tab service for the airline’s on-demand menu and what it says is the first-ever seatback digital-shopping platform in-flight.

Travelers on Virgin America will now be able to browse hundreds of products and place orders from their seatback touch-screens via the Red store, which Virgin America says is the first seatback digital shopping platform in the North American skies. The Red store shopping platform is powered by SkyMall.


“From our 2007 launch, our mission has been to harness new technology and design to reinvent the flying experience and give guests more comfort, choice and control. Red was already the largest and most advanced in-flight entertainment platform in North America, but these latest enhancements will give guests even more options,” says David Cush, president and CEO of Virgin America. “The debut of enhanced Google Maps, shopping and even an open tab are all firsts in the in-flight entertainment space, and we intend to keep investing in our system in order to deliver the best in-flight experience in the skies.”

New features that Virgin America has added to its 'red' in-flight entertainment platform include an enhanced version of Google Maps. The new Google Maps enhancement features terrain-view maps with fresher images and eight levels of zoom functionality, so travelers can see the actual topography over which they are flying

With the Red store, Virgin America and SkyMall have teamed up to give flyers the chance to shop from their seatbacks from hundreds of top brands like Sony, Canon, Sharp and Michael Kors. Products range from the Sony PSP with 1 game (which retails for $329.00 and is worth 536 points in Virgin America’s Elevate loyalty program) to the latest Michael Kors tote bag (which retails for $268.00 and is worth 536 Elevate points).

The debut of the Red store marks the first time that SkyMall has developed a product line designed specifically for purchase through an airline seat-back entertainment system. In addition to a unique in-flight shopping experience and a range of best-selling products, purchases made in the sky via the Red store will allow guests to earn two points toward the airline’s Elevate frequent flyer program for every dollar spent.

“We are thrilled to bring our first interactive seatback shopping experience and a unique collection of cutting-edge products to Virgin America guests,” says Jay Scannell, COO of SkyMall. “This is a logical step for our company as we continue to expand our merchandise offering and focus on new technology for both airlines and loyalty program partners. The Red store is a perfect example of SkyMall innovation coupled with our ability to customize the product selection to align with the preferences of Virgin America’s guests.”

Travelers on Virgin America flights will also see various new amenities and features added to the Red system, including:

Google Maps upgrades: Virgin America’s previous Google Maps platform provided interactive maps with multiple levels of zoom. The enhanced system will feature terrain-view maps with fresher images and eight levels of zoom functionality, so travelers can see the actual topography over which they are flying;

An “open tab”: Guests can now swipe their credit card just once per flight and order food, cocktails, movies and more – and keep a tab running during the flight. With one swipe, travelers can peruse and purchase items, including bar hopping (or ordering drinks for the plane), ordering from Virgin America’s food menu and watching latest release Hollywood movies on demand – with one swipe.  The tab will stay open until a guest closes it, or until the plane descends and reaches 10,000 feet at which time it will automatically be closed. Virgin America has been cashless since its launch in August 2007;

Premium food pairings: Virgin America is now providing suggestions on pairings that come at a discounted price via its unique Red in-flight menu system.  Pairing examples include a Pacific brie and turkey sandwich paired with PopChips and Peach White Honest Tea, available for $13.60; and

A custom bar: In July, in addition to its regular selection of cocktails, Virgin America has launched its “Cocktails with Altitude” custom bar, which was developed with the input of frequent flyers, social media fans and in-flight staff. Passengers can select a “Mile High-Tini” from their Red touch-screens, swipe a credit card and the makings for the custom cocktail (which is made with illy issimo Iced Cappuccino and vodka) will be brought to them via tray service. Other cocktails include “Tequila Tea,” top-shelf Tequila and Peach White Honest Tea; and the “Sweet Tree,” eco-friendly VeeV Acai Spirit and cranberry juice.

For a video tour of the new upgrades to Red, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=io39lxCIIBo.

For more on the upgrades to Virgin America’s Red in-flight entertainment system, see Page 2

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  • Matt Mills

    July 23, 2010 #1 Author

    I’m glad to see they’ve upgraded this. The last time I flew with them I thought the interactive system was pretty bad in terms of usability. Although I love the concept, and my wife loves the ability to order items through the screen, I found that the interface felt “slow” and half the applications didn’t work (hadn’t been released yet).

    Am looking forward to my next trip to see how the improvements work.

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