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Virgin America launches first in-flight social network

Posted by Melanie Nayer  February 11, 2014 07:26 AM

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Sure, you can Tweet from your seat and connect with friends on Facebook when you're connected to whatever Internet carrier is hosted on your flight. But now, Virgin America is launching the first in-flight social network at 35,000 feet.

With the help of Gogo (the carrier's WiFi partner), and the business networking app Here on Biz, this new, customized technology will allow Virgin fliers to connect directly with other travelers. It works by isolating the unique IP address of each Virgin America aircraft and its location in the sky, so that – for the first time in the U.S. skies – travelers can see and connect with guests (via the LinkedIn API) on their specific flight, guests on other Virgin America flights in the air, or fellow travelers at their destination airport.

To celebrate the new in-flight network, Virgin America is launching a Twitter promotion that invites flyers to share their dream business travel connection and describe how they would break the ice in 140 characters using the hashtag #planepitch. A weekly winner will receive a complimentary Gogo WiFi pass and one Grand Prize winner will win Virgin America Elevate Gold status, six Main Cabin Select business class flights and an annual Gogo pass, so the winner will never miss a “connection” on the fly. Check out www.planepitch.biz for rules and regulations. Bonus! Now through July, flyers who download the Here On Biz app can score a 25 percent discount to the Virgin America Loft at LAX.

HereonBiz6.jpgPhoto credit: Virgin America

According to Luanne Calvert, Virgin America’s Chief Marketing Officer, the need for this extended social media connection was actually prompted by the airline's business travelers.

"When we surveyed our business travelers, we were surprised to learn that the ability to connect with other Virgin America travelers in-flight or en route to a destination was a frequent request," she said. "The best business connections often happen unexpectedly, and we’ve heard many stories of partnerships and start-up ideas being born on our flights."

The new Virgin America social network will roll out on all domestic flights by the end of February, and travelers can access the app for free through July 2014 via the Gogo WiFi network.

Here's how the Virgin America-Here on Biz In-Flight network works:
1. Download the new Here On Biz iOS app from the mobile app store.
2. Register a new account using your LinkedIn profile.
3. Rolling out to all domestic flights by the end of February, guests can start connecting when they log in at a gate or onboard at 35,000 feet via Gogo on Virgin America. App users will be able to connect with other Virgin America guests traveling on their particular flight, other travelers on any Virgin America aircraft currently airborne, or fellow Virgin America guests at their destination airport.

***To kick off the new program, Virgin America is launching a “Network on the Fly” fare sale with Main Cabin fares from $69 and Main Cabin Select from $99 for travel March 4-29, 2014 (restrictions apply).

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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