Virgin America Welcomes Dish Network Aboard

EchoStar Communications will provide live in-flight satellite entertainment for U.S. airline startup Virgin America.

The 18-channel Dish Network package for passengers includes a mix of networks featuring sports, music and general-entertainment programming: The Independent Film Channel, CNBC, A&E Network, BET, CNN, Discovery Channel, E! Entertainment Television, FX, Food Network, Travel Channel, Bravo, ESPN, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN2, Sí TV, USA Network and Cartoon Network.

San Francisco-based Virgin America, a low-fare carrier, is aiming to offer innovative guest features and services to bring fun back to flying, including mood-lit cabins, custom-designed leather seats and an advanced personal in-flight entertainment system.

In addition to live Dish Network TV, the airline will offer customers pay-per-view movies; a wide array of audio music entertainment, including the ability to compile individual audio playlists; a broad selection of popular electronic games; and meals on-demand. Virgin America will begin service to New York's JFK International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport Aug. 8.

As San Francisco's hometown airline, Virgin America will serve as many as seven cities within one year of operation and up to 30 within five years.