The ability to access your social networks while in the air is nothing new; many airlines offer in-flight WiFi (for a price) within the US. But Virgin America is now offering the first in-flight social network in the US, allowing fliers to connect directly with other passengers on the flight, and with travelers landing at their destination airport.
Available both at the gate and at 35,000 feet and above, the social network is powered by Gogo (Virgin America’s WiFi partner) and the Here on Biz app. How does the technology work? It finds the IP address and location of each Virgin America aircraft, and lets passengers make connections on their flight or at their destination airport (Boston.com). Users access the network by downloading Here on Biz iOS mobile app and registering a new account using their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profile.
The in-flight social network is scheduled to be available on all domestic Virgin America flights by the end of February.
To get fliers excited about making connections in the air, Virgin America created the #planepitch Twitter promotion. Passengers share their “dream biz seatmate” and their perfect #planepitch for the chance to win a free Gogo in-flight WiFi pass (one winner each week), or the grand prize: one year of Elevate Gold Status, complimentary Gogo in-flight WiFi passes and six business flights with priority perks and extra legroom.
Other airlines have used social networks to help passengers make connections, but this will be the first of its kind in the US. So far the response seems very positive, with lots of hashtag #planepitch entries, ranging from silly to serious.
What would your #planepitch be?
— ECA| G.Na (@PandaZMafia) February 11, 2014
— Jennifer D (@vastjewels) February 11, 2014