Richard Branson’s companies are certainly being very active of late. Virgin Galactic is still doing awesome space-relating things and Virgin Atlantic is busy testing out using smartwatches and augmented reality glasses for check-ins. Virgin America might have been feeling left out of this whole arrangement because they’ve just announced that they’re launching an in-flight social network. Yes, really.
The custom social network, a collaboration between Virgin America and business professional social network Here on Biz, is designed to lot passengers connect with other people who are on the same flight, on another Virgin America flight or on the ground when they land. The app, which uses the “…fleetwide Gogo In-Flight WiFi network and purpose-built APIs that identify an aircraft’s location in the air” uses Here on Biz’s geo-location tech to network in the air.
The app will be available to domestic Virgin America passengers to use free of charge (in the air) until July this year. Presumably there will be a nominal charge for the service thereafter.
On why this social network plan was hatched, Virgin America’s Chief Marketing Officer Luanne Calvert said “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. Given our home in Silicon Valley and network of tech-focused cities as well as the fact that our guests often choose us because they need to stay connected via our fleetwide WiFi, it makes sense. The best business connections often happen unexpectedly, and we’ve heard many stories of partnerships and start-up ideas being born on our flights”
Source: The Verge