Virgin Atlantic to bring Wi-Fi to transatlantic flights

Virgin Atlantic is to start providing Wi-Fi onboard its transatlantic flights from Europe

Virgin Atlantic will begin providing Wi-Fi on board translantic flights from Europe next year. The company's partner, Gogo, will provide the high-speed internet connectivity using 2Ku satellite-based technology, which has expected speed of up to 70Mbps.

Virgin will be the first European airline to provide the technology to customers, which had only been available on domestic North American flights that use ground-based technology. Under the agreement, Gogo will retrofit Virgin Atlantic’s existing aircraft with the technology.

Reuben Arnold, brand and customer engagement director at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We’re always looking at ways to enhance the onboard experience for our customers and expanding in-flight connectivity across our fleet is just one of the ways in which we are doing this.

“We were impressed with Gogo’s connectivity solution and look forward to all of our customers being able to enjoy this service while they fly," he added. Virgin’s flight partner, Delta Air Lines, is also planning to offer the technology.

Gogo was selected after a competitive pitch process, but another supplier Arinc currently supplies Wi-Fi on a small number of Virgin aircraft which was installed as a customer trial. 

More on Wi-Fi

Back in 2012, Virgin Atlantic announced a partnership with AeroMobile to provide mobile and web capabilities on new Airbus A330s flying between London and New York, as well as 17 other planes across 10 routes by the end of 2012. Virgin has said that AeroMobile still provides its in-flight telephony and will continue to do so on its A330-300 aircraft.

Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic announced it would pilot Google Glass to see whether the wearable technology would improve its customer services.

Staff responsible for Upper Class passengers travelling with the airline will be supplied with the glasses, enabling them to start the check-in process and keep people up to date on the latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination.

Google Glass also has a built-in translation application, allowing staff to talk to customers wherever they are from. After six-week trial, the airline will consider a wider roll-out and develop new services using the technology, such as identifying passengers’ dietary requirements or food and drink preferences, hoping to achieve a more personal service.

Read more on IT for transport and travel industry