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Virgin America bolsters IFE processing speed

Virgin America has upgraded its Linux-based in-flight entertainment system (IFE) to allow for more functionality, content and speed.

The airline says the entire entertainment platform is now 25% faster than before and offers passengers a new functionality to rewind and fast forward at three different speeds when accessing movies, premium TV and music videos through video-on-demand.

Passengers who shop on Virgin America's seat-back system, known as Red, can now also have e-receipts emailed to them at the point of purchase, an option that comes in advance of the airline introducing a virtual Virgin America store. The store is expected to debut during the fourth quarter.

Customers who play video games on Red can now override the game soundtrack to listen to more than 3,000 songs in the airline's MP3 library, a change suggested by passengers via the IFE system's feedback button.

The IFE changes come as the San Francisco-based carrier is integrating Red with its broadband offering, Aircell's Gogo air-to-ground Internet. Previously Virgin America has said the integrated system should be available during the first quarter of 2010.

One feature of the integrated system is real-time processing of credit card purchases. Currently, passengers who order food, beverages, premium television channels and new-release movies over the system's touch screens have their credit card processed once the once the aircraft lands.

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