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Virgin America Gets Creative: Coffee, Tea, Energy Drink?

Carol Sottili

Airlines need to make money, and selling seats on the plane is no longer the only way to raise a buck. Many now charge extra for bags, snacks, drinks and assigned seats.

But Virgin America is getting even more creative, partnering with a company called Vitalize Labs to sell its Eboost energy tablet. "With Eboost onboard every Virgin America flight, travelers now have the opportunity to arrive at their destinations feeling invigorated and well rested," said a recent press release.

For $3, the flight attendant will drop an orange-flavored effervescent Eboost tablet into a glass of water (think Alka-Seltzer for the healthy set), and you'll get a strong dose of green tea extract with natural caffeine, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C and a bunch of minerals.

So is Virgin America a trailblazer? Selling products other than food and drink isn't common on domestic U.S. flights (we all like to look at the SkyMall catalog, but no one wheels out the voice-activated R2-D2 while you're in flight). But discount air carriers in Europe have been hawking, and selling, products to their captive audiences for many years. On a flight from London to Alicante, Spain, a couple of years ago, the flight attendants went up and down the aisle during the entire flight trying to sell everything from champagne to lottery tickets. I felt as if I were trapped in an infomercial. But the flight was cheap, so, for me, it was a fair trade-off.

Maybe selling a vitamin isn't all that different than selling a bag of pretzels. But it may just be the first foray into the wonderful world of in-flight product sales.

By Carol Sottili |  October 20, 2008; 1:28 PM ET  | Category:  Air Travel , Airline Industry , Carol Sottili , Travel Trends
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Headline error -- Virgina America. Or are they adding service to Dulles, but without the i.

Posted by: Tom | October 20, 2008 1:52 PM

I just flew Virgin America for the first time the red eye from LA to NYC, the LED lighting, easy check in, friendly service was a great experience....I was feeling a bit sick and tired and prior to landing the steward was boasting about all the wonderful benefits of EBOOST and how perfect it was for the traveler for healthy energy and immunity boosting and jet lag recovery so i bought a tablet and dropped it in my bottle....within 30 minutes my mind awakened, my energy perked and i felt great....i was totally effective at work and kicked ass all day where in the past a red eye makes me essentially worthless.......I loved the entire experience Virgin America provided and the fact i can discover an amazing product like EBOOST on board makes it even more appealing to me......Keep up the good work VIRGIN AMERICA! I will be back.......

Posted by: Harry H | October 20, 2008 3:10 PM

Here I thought you were going to say "me" ...then I might just

I can deal with it because I will just take a nap while on board and sleep through the pitch.

I was on an alaskan airlines flight where they pitched an alaskan airlines credit card.

Posted by: DJP | October 20, 2008 4:02 PM

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