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Virgin offers touchscreen handsets on new A330s

2 Apr 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Virgin Atlantic's new A330 aircraft feature a brand new IFE system, with a touchscreen handset which allows users to follow the flight map while simultaneously watching a movie on the main screen.

The first of the carrier’s A330 aircraft enters service today (April 2), with the inaugural flight operating from Manchester to Orlando.

The aircraft is reported to feature new economy and premium economy seating (see online news May 25, 2010), although at the time of writing specific details on these products had not been released.

What is known though is that customers will benefit from a brand new Panasonic IFE system, with touchscreen capabilities on both the main screen and the handset (premium economy only). In a release the carrier says that passengers can “swipe across screens, scroll through text and instantly jump around the system, with a touch of a fingertip, using the sharpest graphics and full scale screen animations”.

Features of the new system include the ability to rate content with a thumbs up or down, the option to bookmark content for later in the flight, a travel tips section where passengers can leave their own suggestions, and live web news from Sky as well as hourly Sky News and Sports bulletins.

The premium economy cabin also features touch screen remote control handsets, allowing passengers to follow the system’s moving map display without having to switch away from the entertainment on the main screen.

Customers in premium economy can play content from “a variety” of mobile devices through the seatback screens, and passengers in all classes can view content through a USB port.

Virgin says that users will only ever be three clicks away from viewing content on the new system. The carrier says it will also introduce the capability to send and receive emails and texts on Blackberries, PDAs and other mobile devices later this year.

For more information visit virginatlantic.com, and check back here for further information on the new aircraft and seating early next week.

Report by Mark Caswell

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