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The LinkedIn of the Skies: Virgin America Launches First In-Flight Social Network

February 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM | by | ()

Virgin America has always been the US' new little airline that could, and the intrepid company has fought for every bit of cool cache they carry, helped along by introducing many "firsts."

For example, Virgin America was the first airline to produce a flight attendant-based TV show, the first airline with an advanced seatback entertainment system including food and beverage ordering functions, the first to fly nonstop between New York and Palm Springs, the first to film a movie completely on scheduled flights, and the first airline to do Instagram promotions. Now they can tack another first onto this impressive list: that of creating the first in-flight social network.

Hand-in-hand with Gogo in-flight WiFi and business networking app Here On Biz, Virgin America will allow their passengers to link up with fellow flyers on their own flight, any other Virgin America flight, and even those already arrived at airports from VX flights.

“This partnership allows flyers to take advantage of those serendipitous travel moments where people with complementary business interests are in the same place at the same time – even if that place is on a plane somewhere 35,000 feet above the U.S.,” said Nick Smoot, CEO & Co-Founder of Here On Biz.

Think how this work for planeloads of people all with the same destination and focus in mind during events like SXSW, Coachella, the many conferences in NYC or Las Vegas, and general Silicon Valley happenings.

Then, when someone inevitably asks how you connected with the person who gave you that awesome new job/relationship/restaurant tip, you can simply say with a smile, "we met on a plane."

How to get in on the new network:

· Book a Virgin America flight
· Before flying, download the Here On Biz app from the iTunes app store
· Sign up on Here On Biz using your LinkedIn account and customize profile
· Log onto your flight's Gogo in-flight WiFi and open the Here On Biz app to see who else is flying Virgin America and connect with them

How it works:

· The individual IP address of each Virgin America plane is recognized, along with its position in the sky.
· View profiles of travelers on your specific flight, or switch to view those currently on all Virgin America flights.
· If someone looks like they'd be a great fit as a new friend, coffee buddy, love interest, needed employee, potential professional contact, or even just a great person with whom to share to a cab from the airport, you're free to message them through the app.

Offers to kick off the new network:

· A "Network on the Fly" fare sale for travel between March 4-29. Main Cabin tickets from $69, or Main Cabin Select from $99.
· Download the Here On Biz app before July, and score 25% off the $40 entrance price to the Virgin America Loft at LAX.
· Tweet @VirginAmerica and, in 140 characters or less, describe how you'd break the ice. Use hashtag #planepitch and weekly winners will be chosen to receive free Gogo passes. One grand prize winner will even make off with a year of EleVAte Gold status, Gogo passes, and 6 flights in Main Cabin Select. View more details on the official site

The social network will be up and running for all Virgin America flights by the end of February 2014, and use of the Here On Biz app is free through July 2014. This means the only things you're left to actually pay for are the flight ticket itself and Gogo WiFi access, which you're probably going to want to use anyway.

[Images: Virgin America]

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