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
"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
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