Virgin America First with Fleet-wide Wi-Fi

Virgin America has apparently won the race to be the first airline in the U.S. to offer Wi-Fi Internet access on all of its planes. The airline is celebrating the event by bending its own rules to host a Skype video chat with talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Virgin America is using Gogo's in-flight wireless Internet service and will allow users to surf the Web, participate in text-based chats, and check email, but will block Voice Over IP services so users can't participate in audio or video chats.

AirTran announced earlier in May that it planned to be the first airline in the U.S. to complete a fleet-wide Wi-Fi rollout. The company expects to finish fitting its planes with Gogo's service by the end of the summer, which means Virgin America beat it by a substantial margin.

Virgin's in-flight Internet service costs US$12.95 for daytime flights over three hours, $9.95 for day flights under three hours, $5.95 for red-eye flights, or $7.95 for handheld devices including Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.