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Virgin America To Offer Wireless Internet Access On Flights

AirCell is partnering with Virgin America to offer Wi-Fi broadband Internet services on the airline's flights in the continental U.S. in 2008.

AirCell has announced that it is partnering with Virgin America to offer Wi-Fi broadband Internet services on the airline's flights in the continental U.S. in 2008.

The service, AirCell said, will enable passengers to surf the Internet and check e-mail during flights. Virgin American began U.S. service last month offering passengers a service that allowed them to text message and download music during flights.

Last month, AirCell said it will offer Wi-Fi service on American Airlines flights.

While the AirCell service will cover most broadband features associated with Wi-Fi, passengers won't be able to use VoIP during flights; in various polls and in comments filed with the FCC, travelers have made it clear they don't want to hear fellow passengers chattering away on phones.

In the Virgin America announcement Thursday, AirCell said passengers could also use Virgin America's Red inflight entertainment system along with their Wi-Fi equipped devices including smartphones, PDAs, BlackBerrys, and portable gaming systems.

"Our goal with broadband is simple: let guests decide how and when they want to communicate and interact by providing relevant options," said Charles Ogilvie, Virgin America's director of Inflight Entertainment & Partnerships, in a statement. The service will be available between the Canadian and Mexican borders as well as between the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

AirCell said pricing for the service would be announced at a later date.

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