NBC U flies with Virgin

Airliner taps NBC for in-flight entertainment

Virgin America has lined up its in-flight entertainment, with movies and TV shows from NBC Universal joining offerings from Disney, Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros.

The only thing it doesn’t have yet is minor details like flight routes, schedules and fares.

Those things have been up in the air, so to speak, because the low-fare carrier, a U.S.-based spinoff of Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways, has been waiting for the greenlight.

The San Francisco-based startup has been waiting for months to get approval from the Dept. of Transportation to start selling tix and the Federal Aviation Administration to take off.

Airline said it will start flying in August, but has yet to set an exact date.

But while waiting, Virgin has been busy. It aims to use entertainment as a way to differentiate itself from other low-fare airlines like Southwest and JetBlue.

The NBC U deal encompasses fare like the pic “Hot Fuzz” and TV shows such as “Heroes” and “The Office.”

Not only do the studios and networks get paid licensing fees for their content, Virgin America’s in-flight system, dubbed Red, also will create a new promotional outlet for upcoming projects.

In-flight technology will enable movies to be paused, rewound or fast forwarded, just like a digital video recorder.

System also will enable flyers to chat with others onboard, as well as order food via the screens.

Virgin America plans to service 10 cities within its first year, including San Francisco to New York, and grow to 30 destinations within five years.

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