Lufthansa Systems' BoardConnect will bring inexpensive, easy-to-use Wi-Fi connectivity and content to travelers in a hybrid in-flight entertainment system

Virgin America announced today that it has chosen Lufthansa Systems' BoardConnect platform to be part of its next Red in-flight entertainment (IFE) system

The partnership is expected to create a new platform unlike any other to date, with hybrid technology that will allow travelers to connect, play, eat, and shop in a whole new way.

Current in-flight entertainment systems are hard-wired and complex, which makes them costly and challenging to install. They are also difficult to maintain and inflexible, since some of these systems must connect each and every seat to the content server individually through "miles of cables."

BoardConnect, however, is an in-flight entertainment system that uses an 
onboard Wi-Fi network to provide high-definition touch-screen seatback monitors with full internet connectivity and a wealth of content. It is easy-to-install and cost-efficient, and users are allowed to use their personal electronic devices to connect to the system pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight. 

"We're pleased to announce that an airline known for its unique design, inventiveness and the quality of its entertainment experience will be the launch partner for BoardConnect,” said Stefan Hansen, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Systems. “BoardConnect opens a new world of opportunities for airlines and their passengers. It is a perfect example for how Lufthansa Systems as a technology leader in airline IT provides innovative solutions which help their customers in many ways to set new standards in passenger service, lower their cost and stay ahead of their competition. BoardConnect gives airlines an unprecedented degree of flexibility to develop new entertainment applications as well as to create new sources of ancillary revenue."

The new Red hybrid system will allow travelers partake in a many interactive services, including live satellite TV; cached specialty channels; 35+ on-demand films; premium TV like HBO; video games manipulated by a QWERTY keyboard handset; a seat-to-seat chat feature so guests can communicate; interactive Google Maps that tracks the aircraft at eight levels during flight; an on-demand menu that allows guests to order what they want during a flight; content and games for children; on-demand shopping, and a 3,000 mp3 library that allows users to create music playlists. 

"The idea behind Red has always been to reinvent the flight experience, by offering travelers more options, more control, more content and more interactivity,” said David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America. “Even though we believe that Red has raised the bar and is still head and shoulders above anything else in the U.S. skies, we're not the kind of Company that rests on our laurels. Our focus on innovation is a core part of our business model and guest offering, and BoardConnect will allow us to not only leap even further ahead of the airline pack, but also pace the larger consumer trends in mobile technology. We now have the architecture we need to design a dynamic entertainment experience that is the next logical iteration of Red."

Technical experts from Virgin America and Lufthansa Systems are already in the midst of conducting back-end testing of the new Red system on an aircraft called N841VA-#nerdbird, but plans to launch the new Red platform for customer on a new Airbus A320 named #nerdbird in late 2012. The system is still under development as far as functionality and design goes.


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