Virgin America debuts in-flight flirting service

The carrier's new 'seat-to-seat delivery' lets passengers buy each other drinks and snacks.

By Kim Peterson Apr 25, 2013 5:35PM
Image: Airline (© Blend Images/SuperStock)Virgin America, you're about to make some of your passengers feel slightly uncomfortable.

The airline has debuted a new service that lets fliers flirt with each other and send each other cocktails. Yes, that's exactly what a bunch of strangers want when they're already seated in each other's personal space.

Virgin empire founder Sir Richard Branson has no qualms about what this service intends to do. In a video posted to Virgin America's Facebook page, he offers his "guide to getting lucky" at 35,000 feet. "I'm not a betting man, but I say your chances of deplaning with a plus-one are at least 50%," he says.

The new service, available on Virgin's domestic flight, is called Seat-to-Seat Delivery. Using the touchscreens in front of seats, passengers can order food or beverages delivered to people in other seats. They can also send that person a flirty message.

The service arrives as Virgin rolls out introductory fares of $39 each way for flights between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

So do fliers really want to know that seat 14B thinks they're really cute, and here's a gin and tonic to prove it? Some Twitter users think the service bypasses flirty and goes straight into creepy. "Great. Now you can experience unwanted sexual harassment during your airplane flights as well," wrote one person. "Oh dear, this has NO chance of ending horribly," wrote another.

Gawker chimed in as well. "Just when you thought air travel couldn't get any less appealing, along comes Virgin America to assure you that it most certainly can," writes Neetzan Zimmerman.

Actually, Gawker, this might make travel on Delta Airlines (DAL) and other carriers more appealing. The next time someone takes off their aromatic shoes, shoves your carry-on or elbows you one too many times, just take a breath, smile and be glad they aren't sending you vodka and leering at you from the next aisle.

More on moneyNOW

Apr 25, 2013 6:27PM
When did buying someone a drink become sexual harasment?  We're getting to an age where simply glancing at someone will be cause to call the authorities.  C'mon people, get over yourselves.
Apr 25, 2013 7:52PM
If people don't want the kind of experience in their flight that Virgin is offering then they are free to vote with their wallet and use a different airline. Otherwise get over it! I mean seriously, should we now insinuate that every restaurant or night club should be liable because someone might flirt with another there and they not like it? If a business doesn't want their employees to experience this they won't use Virgin Airlines. If a person doesn't want someone to think they are attractive then DRESS UGLY!!! It's not that difficult. Seriously, I bet 90% of people (even married ones) would like to at least know SOMEONE thinks they're still attractive even if they don't want to "hook up" or cheat on their spouses. I think this is a great idea. Oh, and to those who are concerned about the "aggressive flirter" then the airport is currently the safest place to have someone like that removed from circulation and ability to further harass you.
Apr 25, 2013 10:46PM
I think this is innovative - another way to make a buck.  Seriously, there is probably a "block" on the seat so you don't have to participate.  Or maybe there is a "Let's Party" zone and a "Leave me alone" zone....I think we will be seeing all kinds of new stuff - let's welcome a change in the passenger cabin!
Apr 26, 2013 9:22AM
This doesn't have to be "creepy". First of all it is a non-physically obtrusive way to meet someone. Second of all if you remember the good manners your mom probably taught you then you discontinue contact after being politely informed that the other party is not interested. I remember the good old days when not everyone who said "hello" to someone of the opposite sex was considered "polite"  and civil and not thought to be "on the make"....

Apr 26, 2013 3:31PM
Who says the message has to be "flirty"?  Perhaps you can use the tool to tell those people with shoes off, noisy kids, or whatever what you'd like with or without buying them a cocktail.
Apr 26, 2013 10:12AM
Rail is looking more attractive every day...
Apr 26, 2013 8:54AM
You mean there are still virgins in America?
Apr 26, 2013 10:07AM

Talk about having a captive audience!


As an attractive single woman I see this as disastrous. Accepting drinks or conversation just to be polite from someone you have no interest in, can make for a very uncomfortable ride. Refusing, can make it even more uncomfortable. The close environment of an airplane, (much like a large CAT scan), couldn't make unsolicited flirting less desirable or more entrapped. 


This opens the door to possible harassing for both men and women not to mention the possibility of conversing during a 5-hr flight, landing and finding out he or she is married.


Aren't children are allowed to fly alone at 13? What about pedophiles?


There are plenty of web sites for singles to meet that include a profile that allows one to discern. If one chooses to delete someone, you're not trapped a few feet away from this stranger.  


As a businesswoman, I understand marketing and setting yourself apart. However, an airplane doesn't seem to be the best place to initiate romantic introductions. It could possibly prove to be more of a platform to act out one's fantasies.  




Apr 26, 2013 4:41AM
How better to break the ice doesn't mean bugging the person the  entire ride
Apr 26, 2013 8:30AM
One of the basic laws of male physiology: "The angle of the dangle and the heat of the meat are proportional to the wink from the drink."

Please, somebody find me a job as a company executive making at least $200,000 a year and I'll stop reading and writing MSN comments. I can do a good act.
Apr 25, 2013 9:52PM
Apr 25, 2013 6:52PM
I think this is a big mistake. The airlines will get sued by good-looking women who will complain about being harassed by other passengers and heterosexual males and females who will complain about being harassed by gay males and females. This nonsense will lead to more marital infidelity, etc. The airlines will also be sued for alienation of affections by disgruntled spouses. There may also be some very disturbing altercations when a good-looking female refuses a drink from an aggressive male passenger. The male passenger may openly express himself and say words to the effect, "Don't you think I'm good enough for you W(B)itch? This is not good behavior at 35,000 feet going 500 miles per hour even if there is no turbulence. The plane will have to make an expeditious landing to throw the male passenger off and have him arrested. He will file a legal action against the airlines for overreacting. Of course the public will have to pay for all the litigation losses the airlines incur with higher ticket prices.

I can't believe that I'm sitting here unemployed with nothing to do but read, write, exercise, watch markets and watch sports and these clowns are making millions with ideas like this. Life is unfair. But as Bill Gates says: "Life is unfair; get used to it." And as Johnny Carson said: "If life were fair Elvis would still be alive and all the Elvis impersonators would be dead."

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