Virgin America Web Site Drops Flash

Adobe Flash may be a part of many Web sites, but not the redesigned Virgin America site. The airline recently dropped Flash in favor of HTML in a move to improve site performance and to offer support for a wider range of devices, including Apple's iPhone, according to The Register.

"I don't want to cater to one hardware or one software platform one way to another, and Flash eliminates iPhone users," said Virgin America's Chief information officer Ravi Simhambhatla.

Virgin America's Flash-free Web site

Virgin America's move away from Flash doesn't spell the end of Adobe's multimedia delivery platform, especially since nearly every personal computer includes the software necessary to play Flash-based content and companies like YouTube depend on Flash to stream videos. If does, however, show a growing interest in finding alternatives to Flash.

Once the HTML5 standard is ratified, Mr. Simhambhatla plans to update the Virgin America Web site again. HTML5 offers multimedia content support without requiring Adobe's Flash or Microsoft's competing Silverlight.

Despite its Web site redesign, Virgin America isn't completely abandoning Flash. The company plans to implement a Flash-based solution for its airport checkin kiosks.

"Flash provides beautiful interactivity," Mr. Simhambhatla said. "We wanted to bring a smoother application experience and modularity and be able to build up an interactive experience for the kiosk user. Flash is all these."

He added "Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled... If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn't [controlled] then Flash is questionable."