Virgin America Launches

Virgin America and their new fleet of planes has launched. Their fleet flies from JFK and DC to Vegas, LAX and SFO. We’ve got our flights already and watch this space as we think we’ve got a discount deal for the PSFK Conference Los Angeles.


And for you guys who need more details, back in February the Engadget gang went on board the airline, took loads of photos and reported these specs for the planes:

Seatback consoles

* Linux-based with Tiny X
* VA developed Red in-flight interface
* 9-inch integrated touchscreen
* 1024 x 600 resolution (oh, so close to HD! but not quite)
* Dual internal flash drives for redundant storage of embedded OS

Niceties that melt our hearts

* One USB port and one ethernet port per seat
* USB can be used with a portable keyboard on seatback console (or to charge your device)
* Ethernet hooks you into a LAN with the rest of the passengers
* Two 110v outlets per 3-seat row (and one per seat in first class)
* Dual 802.11b WiFi access points in cabin (fore and aft)
* Sprint EV-DO uplink (for ground communications)
* Yet-unannounced in-air broadband uplink
* LED mood lighting throughout the craft

Communications

* Send email and SMS messages from your seat console
* In-cabin chats, either private (one on one), group (by invite), or common (whole plane)
* Dedicated chat rooms for each channel to discuss what’s on TV
* Send food and beverage orders (and pay) directly from your console
* Galley inventory lists are transmitted wirelessly when the plane is stocked; customers are prompted when their order cannot be fulfilled due to no remaining inventory

Entertainment

* Streaming pay-per-view movies from on-board media server
* Over 3,000 MP3 tunes stored in on-board media server; persistent play lists (i.e. the playlist you make online or in your seat will follow you to future flights)
* Dish live TV with in-flight program guide
* Games! Open source titles (including Doom); VA will host an open source game dev competition, the best games will be added to the playable titles list.

Gear and servers

* One system controller
* Three Dish receiver / tuner boxes
* Three redundant storage arrays for streaming audio and video — during flight data (including CC transactions) is written only to encrypted flash

Etc.

* Flight attendants can monitor traffic spikes from bandwidth-greedy users
* Seats 149 passengers (eight in first class)
* Lavatories have their own soundtrack, kind of like those chic hotels
* Prices should be “competitive” with some budget airlines
* Expected to take flight this summer (US Dept. of Transportation approval pending)

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