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Virgin America’s new In-Flight Entertainment to run Android

June 12, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

In-Flight Entertainment systems are usually pretty clunky, and sometimes just don’t work at all. Having flown across the world a few times on different airlines, the in-flight entertainment systems on long-haul flights differ quite a bit depending on what airline you’re using. Delta’s in-flight entertainment system is pretty good, actually. While it’s not perfect, it’s better than what United has. However, Virgin America might be beating Delta in in-flight entertainment soon, as they move to an Android-powered system.

By upgrading their fleet to an Android-powered in-flight entertainment system, it means that you’ll get better flight maps, in fact you’ll also be getting pinch-to-zoom functionality, which works great with the flight maps. So you can zoom in and see exactly where you are currently. There will also be better games. For instance, Pac-Man will be available. But don’t expect something like Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on there. Additionally the new systems will have double the storage. Which means Virgin America can push more content into the system. It will be 720p however, which isn’t terrible, but we always want more pixels, right? The new system will also feature Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

While the airline is rolling out this new system right now, only 3 aircraft in their fleet will have the upgrade by the end of the month, with 18 aircraft having the new system by the end of 2015. It won’t be until the end of 2016 when their entire fleet should be completely upgraded. Their entire fleet is also getting headphone-based surround sound for certain content available on their in-flight entertainment. Which includes the first two episodes of Game of Thrones Season Five. Sorta sucks that they couldn’t make that available for all content available on the system.

Virgin America’s fleet is made up of the Airbus A319 and A320, which are pretty much the same plane, except the A320 is a bit longer and thus seats more passengers. The entire fleet should be upgraded by the end of next year, but of course there could be some set backs. As planes need maintenance and other delays can occur.