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Maybe They Should Run A Pool On When Your Plane Will Land?

June 2, 1993

LONDON (AP) _ Airlines insist that flying isn’t much of a gamble, but one British carrier wants to let its customers test their luck with airborne games of chance.

Virgin Atlantic Airways plans to introduce an inflight entertainment system in November that probably will offer passengers the opportunity to play video poker, slot machines or roulette, spokesman James Murray confirmed Wednesday.

Other big carriers are apparently eyeing the idea, although they have reservations about offending passengers from fervently religious areas like the Middle East. They also recognize the risk of angering vacationers who run the risk of emptying their wallets before reaching their destinations.

Virgin, whose advertising slogans invite customers to ″Take us for all we’ve got″ says it’s not about to do likewise to inflight gamblers.

Murray said the airline is debating the size of stakes fliers can wager. Like any gambling establishment, Virgin expects to win, but ″We wouldn’t want a disgruntled passenger at the end, if they lost,″ Murray said.

″Obviously, we would look at safeguards so children couldn’t play it without their parents’ permission,″ he added.

Virgin says gambling is not the focus of the entertainment system being developed with Hughes-Avicom of Los Angeles, reported Wednesday in USA Today.

The system will let passengers on Virgin’s long-haul international flights have a wider choice of movies and music, with a shopping channel and video games.

″The purpose of the system is to make travel more interesting. ... The purpose is not to become a gambling hall in the sky,″ Murray said.

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