It has been a few years now since WiFi was brought to planes. Although being able to access the internet from 38,000 feet is a minor miracle, there has always been one major complaint: speed. Accessing airplane WiFi brings back memories of dialing-up to modems back in the 1990s.
Thanks to Virgin America, that is now changing. And thanks to their joint venture with Netflix, your domestic flight experience may be changing forever. This morning, Forbes published their article Virgin America And Netflix Partner Up To Deliver Movies Over Inflight WiFi. Virgin America’s pioneering new ViaSat WiFi service offers connectivity speeds similar to what you might see in your home in 2015 (as opposed to 1995) and should have plenty of bandwidth to stream Netflix for passengers.
As part of this partnership, Netflix users will also get free access to Virgin America’s WiFi to stream movies and TV shows for a 6-month trial period through March of 2016.
Having access to a few TV channels (as has been previously done by Virgin America, JetBlue, and Southwest, among a few others) is great, but having home-speed WiFi to watch any movie or TV show you choose is groundbreaking, both technologically and in the way we see travel. Once you try this, you may never see domestic flights the same again!
As the article says in its conclusion:
Needless to say, this week’s announcement sets the bar for a level of service and partnership that all other WiFi providers can now measure themselves against. As the rest of the industry races to catch up, the era of dial-up speeds while in flight will soon be behind us.
This won’t happen overnight, as Virgin America will have to retrofit their planes with the new service capabilities, but competition and innovation are good things, and I am excited to see where this goes down the line.
Would this make you more likely to fly Virgin America? Or would it not be a consideration for you in choosing your air carrier?
Michael Prodanovich is a contributor to Point Me to the Plane, and author of The Ultimate Guide to Free Travel.