Virgin America’s Cush reveals Gogo usage stat – wow!

My colleague, ATI US editor Lori Ranson, had a chat with Virgin America president and CEO David Cush yesterday in San Francisco. Here’s the latest from Cush on Virgin America’s Gogo ramp-up and usage stats.

1) Gogo, which went live on Virgin America last month, is currently flying on three Airbus A320 family aircraft 

Virgin 5.JPG

2) Take-up rate has been 20% to 25% on long-haul routes – higher than expected (wow, really? wow)

3) The next “big battle” is likely to be about power outlets and cords (sounds iPod-a-licious…see how Panasonic’s X marks the spot and other sexy stuff…side note: VA’s “Red” IFE is a combo of Panasonic hardware/CoKinetic software)

And here’s a cushy quote:

“I used Aircell on my old airline American on a flight to New York a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely outstanding.”

On an aside, I spoke with Delta Air Lines today about its plan to transition a batch of Boeing MD-88s out of New York LaGuardia-Washington National shuttle service and replace them with 76-seat Embraer 175s.

Why should we care, RWG?

As you are no doubt aware, Delta today went live with Gogo on five MD-88s operating the BosWash corridor shuttle and a single Boeing 757 flying systemwide. A total eight MD-88s plus a spare currenty fly the shuttle (it looks like about half will transition out). These are mighty short-hop flights to be debuting Gogo-gageting, no?

“The shuttle market is a market where we know we have a lot of business travelers who would be interested in seeing a product like this,” says a Delta spokesman, noting that the carrier’s Gogo promo over the holidays will allow folks to try out the product for free.   

So essentially, the promo will give true road warriors a taste of what is to be offered fleet-wide. The question is, however, will Gogo be offered on the E-175 shuttle flights (operated by Republic Airways Holdings subsidiary Shuttle America) and other Delta regional jet flights in the future?

Delta says:

At this time we are focused on installing [Gogo] on mainline Delta and Northwest’s fleet. We will continue to review RJ installation as a future option.

Interesting stuff. Glad to hear it.

Some folks, who will remain nameless, are skeptical that Gogo will ever be installed on Northwest’s ancient DC-9s. Surely these birds will have been retired by the time Delta is forced to answer that question. Surely I just don’t know. But one thing is for certain, these 40 year olds ain’t no Virgins.

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