Virgin America, the California-based airline, today announced the launch of Gogo(r) Inflight Internet, via the first air-to-ground video stream during YouTube Live — YouTube’s first official real-world user event on Nov. 22. The carrier’s first Wi-Fi enabled plane will circle the skies above San Francisco during the event and a segment of the YouTube live show will be streamed from 35,000 feet to an audience on the ground and on-line.
“Virgin America is harnessing the best in technology and design to reinvent flying, by giving our guests A-list amenities and more control — with features like the unrivaled content platform on our touch-screen Red system, seat-to-seat chat, and power outlets at every seat,” said Virgin America Vice President of Marketing Porter Gale. “YouTube has revolutionized the way people connect, inspire and entertain and YouTube Live offers the perfect opportunity to launch a whole new platform for communicating — our inflight Wi-Fi service.”
The YouTube Live event flight will serve as the beta launch of the Gogo(r) Inflight Internet service on Virgin America. Launching with one Wi-Fi enabled aircraft available to guests from Nov. 24 on, the airline will be the first U.S. carrier to offer inflight internet fleet-wide by the second quarter of 2009.
The beta flight will feature a Wi-Fi lounge outfitted with HP ultra-portable notebooks. As the exclusive PC vendor for the carrier’s beta Wi-Fi flight, HP will provide a selection of lightweight, powerful and fashion-forward notebooks to keep users connected from air to ground. Flight guests will score customized Skullcandy headsets and Blue Microphone’s Snowflake, the world’s first portable USB mic. In addition to YouTube stars, 30 Rock’s Keith Powell will be part of the show and film a segment inflight for his web mini-series with co-star Katrina Bowden. After the flight, guests will be whisked to the YouTube Live event in progress at Fort Mason.
Some of YouTube’s highest-viewed stars have been flying to the event from all over the U.S. on the upscale, tech-savvy carrier and filming self-directed videos en route. The videos, posted to Virgin America’s YouTube channel, have already received over one million views. Highlights include William Sledd greeting guests in his own inimitable fashion, Tay Zonday selling First Class, and free-running artist SF Parkour’s mad rush to the gates. The videos will also premiere on the carrier’s Red Inflight Entertainment system on the Nov. 22 flight.
“Virgin America and YouTube are both progressive brands known for forward thinking and innovation,” said Chris Di Cesare, YouTube’s Head of Marketing. “Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet will be game changing for the YouTube community, and we’re proud to be a part of Virgin America’s kick-off of the service during YouTube Live.
YouTube Live kicks off at 5:00pm PST on Nov. 22. Virgin America flies daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, SFO to SEA, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, LAX to SEA, and JFK to LAS.