Networking

Google and Virgin to offer free onboard Wi-Fi

Holiday travelers flying with Virgin America from Nov. 10 through Jan. 15 will get free in-flight Wi-Fi, thanks to a promotional deal with Google.

Virgin's entire fleet of planes has Wi-Fi, supplied by Gogo, a company that also provides wireless Internet access to airlines including American, Delta, United, Air Canada and AirTran.

Virgin has more than 100 daily flights during the holiday months, but it has few routes relative to the other major national carriers. It flies to and from a handful of cities on both U.S. coasts

The airline typically charges between $5.95 and $12.95 per flight for the Wi-Fi access, depending on the length of the flight. It is one of the few airlines to offer power outlets near every seat on its planes.

Typically, 12% to 15% of travelers use the Wi-Fi service, although on longer routes, such as Boston to San Francisco, as many as 25% of passengers use the service, Virgin said.

This isn't the first time that Google and Virgin have teamed up to promote in-flight Wi-Fi. In June, the two set up an online game that travelers on board and on the ground could play for the chance to win free flights and free online storage from Google.

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