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Virgin America upgrades Red inflight entertainment system

Virgin America has started upgrading its Red in-flight entertainment system, announcing today that three aircraft will begin flying with new seat-back touchscreens powered by an improved operating system later this month.

The announcement follows news in May that the Burlingame, California-based carrier planned to unveil product changes in the next few months that chief executive David Cush described as "revolutionary".

Virgin says the Airbus A320s will have Panasonic Avionics’ new Eco V2 monitors, which will run Android-based software.

The monitors will be able to accommodate high-resolution video and the system has three times more storage capacity than the system it replaces, allowing Virgin to provide more content, the airline says.

The system will also have improved interactive maps and allow passengers to play video games, it adds.

“Travellers can swipe, pinch and zoom as they would any other mobile device,” says Virgin in a blog post.

The new system “will make it possible for us to further connect, personalise and expand Red”, it says.

Virgin’s Red IFE already provides live television, movies on demand and music.

During the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium in early May, Cush said "revolutionary" changes were coming, adding that the changes would help the carrier generate more ancilliary revenue.

Though he provided few other details, Cush hinted that the carrier could also begin charging for carry-on luggage, saying offering free bags was "backwards".

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