Business travelers are all too familiar with the serendipitous connections that so frequently -- and fruitfully -- arise among neighboring passengers in the air.
Seeking to enhance these dynamics, Virgin America has unveiled what it’s calling the first airline social network in collaboration with Here On Biz, a location-based business app.
“Instead of leaving it to chance, entrepreneurs can learn who else is on board to connect, chat and perhaps even start a company at thirty-five thousand feet,” noted Virgin Airways founder Richard Branson of the venture.
Rolling out to all domestic flights by month’s end, the network will enable passengers to connect with other users on their flights -- and all other airborne guests -- as well as travelers at their respective destinations.
Available at departure gates before takeoff and in the air, the Here On Biz app connects with users’ LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter accounts, through which travelers can then message one another -- and even send in-flight cocktails to potential connections -- via Virgin’s Gogo Wi-Fi network.
To kick off the initiative, Virgin is launching a sweepstakes on Twitter called #PlanePitch where passengers can propose a venture “to your dream biz seatmate in 140 characters or less” using the aforementioned hashtag.
While six weekly winners will receive free Wi-Fi passes, one grand prize victor selected in March will receive six free flights as well as ultraluxe in-flight perks.