As Virgin Atlantic begins testing Google Glass as a check-in tool, its American counterpart has announced the launch of a custom social network designed to connect passengers in flight. Virgin America and Here On Biz, a location-aware social app centered on business connections, have collaborated to make the app work at 35,000 feet by leveraging Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi network and an API that calculates an aircraft's location in the sky. Those using the app will be able to message others on their flight, at their destination, or other Virgin America planes; Here On Biz uses LinkedIn for contact and login information.
"This partnership allows flyers to take advantage of those serendipitous travel moments where people with complementary business interests are in the same place at the same time — even if that place is on a plane somewhere 35,000 feet above the US," said Here On Biz CEO Nick Smoot. "With our iOS app and this partnership with Virgin America, you can find your next big connection in seat 4C — or even just a row away from you."
Geolocation social apps are nothing new, but they tend to rely on GPS connections and try to capture as wide an array of potential "matches" as possible. Here On Biz, on the other hand, is a more focused service that aims to connect a specific demographic; by narrowing down connections to business travelers willing to spend money on in-flight Wi-Fi en route to a specific location, it just might supersede the pokey messaging tool on the entertainment system, or the awkward Fight Club-style conversations with your neighbour in the next seat.