Airlines Offer Free ChromeBooks Between Flights

Dennis Faas's picture

In an effort to stay ahead of the competition, a few airlines have started lending out tech hardware to those who opt to fly with them. One of the first airlines to offer such a service was American Airlines, who continue to provide free in-flight Android tablets to patrons aboard a select number of their domestic flights.

Now, Virgin America will soon allow their passengers to use a Samsung Chromebook, free of charge.

Apps the Focus of Chromebook Service

The Chromebook compliments the free WiFi service already offered by the airline, and since the Chrome OS uses the Internet as its interface, users can run online apps and perform other tasks without ever leaving the web (or the "comfort" of their seat). (Source:

Virgin America believes that one of the most compelling features for travelers will be having the ability to browse, preview, download and rate the apps offered in the Chrome Web Store.

Especially given the novelty of the service (which launched just over six months ago), those familiar with the more established iTunes App Store might come to find Google's offering to be a bit more user-friendly -- or at the very least, a viable alternative.

Google Benefits from "Trial Period"

In any event, both the Android tablet (American Airlines) and Chromebook (Virgin America) offerings are win-win for the respective airlines.

It's also a big win for Google, whose system powers both options. This "trial period" between domestic destinations provides an ideal opportunity to target an untapped clientele that may decide to pick up their own model long after the airplane has grounded. (Source:

And while other tablets and mobile device companies will undoubtedly come to rival these services, Google will always have the distinction of being the first to tap into this new frontier.

As it stands, the Chromebooks are only being offered to those travelling between Virgin America's main hubs in San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas.

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