Virgin America offers new service to help you network using LinkedIn

Virgin America

Virgin America thinks you might want to network at 35,000 feet.

Maybe you’re trying to get that awesome new job, and you think another passenger in your same industry can help you. Or perhaps you’re trying to close a sale, and you think someone else on the flight might help you do it.

If you think you might be in one of those scenarios, you’re in luck. Virgin is teaming with Here On Biz, a networking app popular with entrepreneurs. Basically, you download the app, and it will tell you if you have any Linkedin connections on the flight. If you do, you can go chat them up. There’s a fee for internet on Virgin, but you’ll be able to access the Here on Biz app for free through July.

“When we surveyed our business travelers, we were surprised to learn that the ability to connect with other Virgin America travelers in-flight or en route to a destination was a frequent request,” Luanne Calvert, Virgin America’s Chief Marketing Officer, said in a statement. “Given our home in Silicon Valley and network of tech-focused cities as well as the fact that our guests often choose us because they need to stay connected via our fleetwide WiFi, it makes sense.  The best business connections often happen unexpectedly, and we’ve heard many stories of partnerships and start-up ideas being born on our flights.”

Here’s what Virgin says you need to do to make it all work.

1. Download the new Here On Biz iOS app from the mobile app store before your flight.

2. Register a new account using your LinkedIn profile.

3. By the end of February, passengers can start connecting when they log in at a gate or onboard at 35,000 feet via Gogo on Virgin America. App users will be able to connect with other Virgin America guests traveling on their particular flight, other travelers on any Virgin America aircraft currently airborne, or fellow Virgin America guests at their destination.

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US Airways will not switch LAX terminals until at least February 2014

US Airways will not switch LAX terminals until at least February 2014.

US Airways will not switch LAX terminals until at least February 2014.

US Airways, which was slated to switch terminals next month at Los Angeles International Airport, will not move until at least February 2014, an airport official told me this week.

US Airways will go from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 to allow Southwest Airlines to spend $400 million on a Terminal 1 renovation project. Eventually, if US Airways is permitted to merge with American, it could move into American’s Terminal 4.

It turns out that playing musical terminals is not easy. No major airline will be moving out of Terminal 3, so with US Airways in there, it will be a tight squeeze. (Virgin Australia is moving out of Terminal 3 for the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but it is a relatively minor player.)

Virgin America is currently the top tenant at Terminal 3. Here’s how Virgin America could be impacted, according to airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.

Virgin America currently has 6 preferential-use gates to schedule its flights at T-3.  Virgin Australia’s consolidation of its departures and arrivals at TBIT improves gate availability at T-3.  However, daily operating fluctuations may impact gate availability and airlines may be assigned to remote gates on an equitable basis whenever there are more planes on the ground than available gates.

“Remote Gates” sounds like a relatively innocuous term. But fliers hate them. They’re usually gates far away from the main terminal, and they require passengers to board a bus to reach them.

UPDATE 2:15: A Virgin America spokesman just emailed:

 “We have been working in close coordination with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) on this issue and we are confident that the interim solution reached with LAWA will result in minimal disruption — if any — for Virgin America guests and our operations at LAX.”

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Virgin America’s new safety video is a Dance-Off directed by Hollywood’s Jon M. Chu

Apparently, in-flight safety videos have become extensions of airline brands.

Virgin America is the latest airline to release a new slickly produced safety video. It did so on Tuesday, releasing what amounts to be a five-minute dance video, with some safety tips sprinkled in. It was directed by Jon M. Chu, of mild Hollywood fame. (In the unlikely case you saw “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” you are familiar with Chu’s work.

This is not the type of video an airline just slaps together. In a September article, the New York Times detailed all that went into producing Virgin’s video. Wrote the Times:

Enter the new safety video, window dressing to some but deeply symbolic to Virgin. To refresh its original video, it initially worked with another Branson brand, Virgin Produced in Los Angeles, to select possible directors. It ultimately homed in on Mr. Chu, who embraced Virgin’s notion to find a creative way to use sound, maybe music, in its video.

As the meeting started, Mr. Chu offered ideas for music and choreography. They talked about using the natural sounds of the aircraft — the click of the seat belt, the closing of the overhead bin — and having the action move from the airplane to a more theatrical setting. Mr. McMillin took it all in, intrigued — liking the chemistry and ambition and trying to figure out the line between excitement and propriety.

What do you think of the video? Should airlines jazz up these demos?

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Virgin America to drop Los Angeles to Portland route

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Our friends at Airlineroute.net report Virgin America is dropping its twice daily service from Los Angeles International Airport to Portland on August 1.

On the same day, flights between San Francisco and Portland increase from once per day to three times daily, according to the site.

The LAX-Portland route is fairly competitive.  United and Alaska both serve the route, and Delta will soon begin flights between the two cities. Also, JetBlue flies between Long Beach and Portland.

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