Virgin Blue throws live television into premium economy mix
Australian domestic low-fare carrier Virgin Blue plans to upgrade its recently introduced premium economy service from tomorrow, adding free food, drink and access to the LiveTV-based Live2air inflight television service.
Live2air is available on the greater part of the airline's 50-strong Boeing 737-700/800 fleet, though not its 18 Embraer E170s and E190s. Premium economy passengers on the 737s will be able to view free of charge the content for which economy travellers pay up to A$9.90 per flight.
Virgin Blue is LiveTV's only non-North American customer. The other takers for its direct-broadcast service are parent company JetBlue, Frontier Airlines and WestJet of Canada. JetBlue, Frontier and Continental Airlines plan to offer LiveTV's air-to-ground messaging and email service from next year.
"In the current economic climate every cent counts, whether the travel budget is coming from your own pocket or from your employer's," says Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey. "Our upgraded premium economy offering is going to add more value at a time when many companies are looking to trim their travel costs rather than their frequency of travelling."
The airline's premium economy passengers already enjoy priority check-in and boarding, extra space in the first three rows of seats, lounge access at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra airports, and a checked baggage allowance of 32kg.