Free Wi-Fi on Virgin America flights, courtesy of Google

At a time when air travelers face fees for just about everything, Google and Virgin America are bucking the trend. The two companies are teaming up to provide passengers free Wi-Fi on all Virgin America  flights during the holiday travel season. Courtesy of Google, Virgin America will offer free inflight Wi-Fi for almost two months (from November 10, 2009 to January 15, 2010), which covers the three major travel periods in the U.S. (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year). Virgin America’s Internet service itself is delivered by in-flight broadband provider GoGo, and normally sells between USD6 and USD13, depending on the flight time and type of electronic device used. 

Virgin America hopes the free service persuades more new users to try out the Internet service, which the airline estimates currently 12 to 15 percent of its passengers are using. Email is the most popular activity, followed by working remotely and social media. For Google, picking up the tab for two months is a smart marketing move because it generates tons of good will among Virgin America passengers, a trend dubbed ‘Free Love’ by As Google explains: “The fundamental power of the Internet is in connecting people, and we hope this makes it a bit easier to stay connected with family and friends while you’re up in the air.”

In June 2009, Virgin America and Google also joined forces to highlight Virgin America’s fleet-wide rollout of inflight Wi-Fi, and to promote Google’s range of ‘cloud’ applications. During this ‘The Day in the Cloud’, passengers on Virgin America flights received free inflight Wi-Fi to let them compete in a trivia game with online participants on the ground. 


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