Netflix is taking to the skies with Virgin America to provide in-flight streaming entertainment.
Complimentary in–flight WiFi on the airline’s routes will allow Netflix members to enjoy the site’s entire catalogue of films and shows. Starting today, passengers will be able to watch House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and more on phones, tablets and laptops at no extra cost (Virgin will still charging from March next year).
The service is powered by a new deal betwen the airline and ViaSat, which brings significantly faster WiFi to the airline’s 10 new airbus A320 aircraft being delivered from fall 2015 to mid-2016. Virgin America will also offer the first season of House of Cards for free on the airline’s recently upgraded Red touch–screen entertainment platform, so travellers can binge–watch through their own devices or on the back of seat infront.
The partnership between Virgin and Netflix follows comments from the VOD company before about how streaming on airplanes was a central goal for the future – something Netflix was keen to play up, while rubbishing Amazon’s recent move to allow customers to download titles for offline viewing.
“As WiFi becomes more ubiquitous, it’s going to be increasingly possible for members to enjoy Netflix wherever they want,” commented Bill Holmes, Netflix’s global head of business development.
“Netflix and Virgin America are both known for their focus on innovation and for shaking up their respective industries,” said Abby Lunardini, Virgin America Vice President of Brand Marketing and Communications, in an official statement.
Indeed, as the only airline based in Silicon Valley, Virgin America was the first (and still only) US airline to offer WiFi on every flight and power outlets at every seat. The team-up wth Netflix will also include House of Cards and Netflix-branded aircraft, further boosting the profile of the streaming service.
“These latest generation investments in our WiFi and entertainment platforms allow us to provide the largest breadth of streamed content ever available at 35,000 feet – along with entire seasons of some Netflix favorites via the Red platform,” Lunardini continued, before adding the inevitable joke: “Even President Frank Underwood can’t get entertainment this good onboard Air Force One.”