Travel Technology

Free Netflix on Virgin America Flights

Can’t live without your Netflix? If you’re flying on newer Virgin America planes, you won’t have to. And for a limited time, you can watch it for free.

Can’t live without your Netflix? If you’re flying on Virgin America, you won’t have to.

Through March 2, 2016, passengers on Virgin America’s ViaSat Wi-Fi-equipped planes can enjoy no-cost streaming access to the entire Netflix library, including such popular shows as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.

Virgin America has made state-of-the-art Wi-Fi a centerpiece of its inflight entertainment, which in turn is promoted as a key competitive advantage over other airlines.

For now, Virgin America is the only U.S. carrier to offer Wi-Fi on every flight and power outlets at every seat. And the new ViaSat technology, being fitted on the airline’s next 10 A320 aircraft scheduled for delivery by mid-2016, is alleged to be up to 10 times faster than currently available inflight Wi-Fi systems.

But the ability to deliver content at speeds that support video streaming is only half the battle. Without compelling content on tap, those cool specs are just technical jargon. Offering Netflix programming closes the loop, showing off the Wi-Fi’s capabilities in its best light.

Virgin America isn’t alone in tying up with content providers to enhance its inflight entertainment offering. JetBlue has arrangements with the Wall Street Journal and Amazon, for example. And other U.S. carriers are surely pursuing similar content deals.

This is likely to be viewed in hindsight as the Golden Age of free inflight content, as the airlines outfit their fleets with the latest in Wi-Fi technology and feel compelled to give away content for free. Once the tech is in place and debugged, the industry’s fee-focused mentality will come into play, and the airlines will begin charging flyers for all but the most basic inflight entertainment.

Enjoy it while you can.

Reader Reality Check

How important is inflight Wi-Fi to you?

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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