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Virgin America Expands Inflight Entertainment Options

Less than a month ago, Virgin America announced a new relationship with Netflix, allowing passengers on Virgin America’s ViaSat Wi-Fi-equipped planes to enjoy no-cost streaming access to the entire Netflix library.

It was just the latest move by Virgin America to keep its inflight entertainment offering a step or more ahead of the competition’s.

But that was last month. This week, the airline announced yet another addition to its growing catalog of inflight entertainment. Actually, two additions: Spotify and the New York Times.

Virgin America passengers will have free access to Spotify’s entire catalog of more than 30 million songs, and, through March 2, 2016, free access to select content. As with the Netflix content, the Spotify and Times streams are only supported on Virgin America planes equipped with ViaSat Wi-Fi, which boasts download speeds up to 10 time faster than those available on most other current Wi-Fi systems.

These media tie-ups are smart marketing moves on Virgin America’s part, not least because they’re win-win-win. The airline gets an infusion of fresh content, for little or no cost. The content providers get the opportunity to expose their product to a captive audience, and possibly sell paid subscriptions to new customers. And flyers enjoy more entertainment choices, in some cases for free.

Of course, the most important element in the inflight entertainment equation may not be the content at all, but rather the speed and stability of the airline’s Wi-Fi system. With the speedy ViaSat system installed on its newest planes, Virgin America is ahead of the pack in that respect as well.

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