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In-Flight WiFi / WiFi / JetBlue / Airline News / Travel Tech / LiveTV / LCCs / → All Tags
Holy smokes it's been far too long since we last had anything to say about JetBlue's efforts to bring precious, precious in-flight WiFi to their fleet. It was April 2011 when the airline boasted that they were pouring $30 million into the project to make their WiFi "the industry's best inflight broadband for commercial aviation," and October 2011 when they launched the satellite.
Then...silence. Until this week.
Don't get too excited; internet isn't onboard yet. Or do get excited, since we finally have a general date for the beginning of service: early 2013. The news comes direct from Robin Hayes, JetBlue's Chief Commercial Officer, who was probably pretty thrilled to let the fact slip at the low-cost carrier conference in London. But waitthat's not even the cool part!
In-Flight WiFi / Singapore Airlines / A380 / 777 / Airline News / Travel Tech / Technology / WiFi / OnAir / → All Tags
You heard it here first in April and now, after five months of testing and tooling, A340s and select A380s and 777-300ERs will be able to log on in the air, no matter where that happens to be (with the exception of on the runway and under 10,000'). This includes the A340s that operate what's known as the world's longest non-stop commercial flight, Newark to Singapore.
In-Flight WiFi / Canada Travel / Airline News / WiFi / Travel Tech / Gogo / → All Tags
From maple leaves and Mounties to all those Tim Hortons with free WiFi—it’s clear that Canada pretty much has it all. However, it’s going to get a little bit better in the next year or so, as Gogo is set to invade Canadian airspace with their high-speed, high-altitude internet access.
Just the other day Industry Canada issued Gogo the needed license for the country’s air-to-ground radio frequency spectrum, which will allow Gogo to provide their in-flight magic to plenty of passengers traveling the friendly skies to, through, and above Canada.
Another week, another international WiFi announcement; however, this one is a little more unique as it comes from a US based carrier. Delta already has the world’s largest WiFi-enabled fleet, but now they’re getting ready to cross the pond. They’ve been in talks with Gogo to get the technology in place for some over the water flying, and now it looks like they’re almost ready to go.
Beginning early in 2013, WiFi will arrive on some of the airline’s international flights including up-in-the-air access aboard their Boeing 777s, 767s, 747s, 757s, and Airbus A330s. There will be plenty of satellites beaming down magical WiFi waves to the planes at 35,000-feet, and this will compliment the air-to-ground services that are already available in and around the United States.
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It’s been some time since we heard about Southwest Airlines and their WiFi fun, but now it sounds like things are picking up. The airline that will always LUV us is now doing even more to show us that they care, as they’ll be bringing live streaming content right to our seats at 35,000-feet.
The plan is to offer both live news and sports programming in the skies, and to test all this using five planes. In total there will be seven different channels that passengers will be able to watch right on their own devices. If the channels catch on, they'll pick up on installations, and more and more options will be available as soon as the middle of July. That means your iPad, iPod, Kindle, or that new Google thing needs to be fully charged and ready to go, as there is no plan to install any kind of in-flight touchscreens right in the back of your Southwest seat.
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Not too long ago in-flight WiFi was limited to a few airlines, on a few routes, and only in a few countries. Sure, things were going well at 35,000' at home in the nifty fifty, but when it was time to take one of those long-haul flights the wireless options were few and far between. It seems like the airlines have really picked up the pace over the last 12 months or so, and now it looks like Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are the latest carriers to invest a little cash in connectivity.
Up first is Japan Airlines, as they’ve already figured out plenty of the details—including pricing. The first planes to receive the JAL Sky system will be some of their Boeing 777-300ERs, and, if all goes according to plan, passengers flying between Tokyo-Narita and New York-JFK will be surfing the ‘net at as soon as July 15.
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Icelandair knows that you can only read so much about the Blue Lagoon in your guidebook before you need to hop onto the internets to check out a few more sample itineraries (and more pics of those hot springs). So that’s why the carrier is teaming up with Row 44 to offer up some international WiFi to each and every one of their airplanes.
Wait just one sec, however. It sounds like the installation process will start towards the end of the year, and the goal is to get a couple of planes up and going before 2013 rolls around. Thanks to super specific definitions, Icelandair will even be the first North Atlantic airline to do the fleet-wide WiFi thing.
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"Eventually" is definitely better than "never," which goes double when it comes to airlines and in-flight WiFi. The latest announcement for onboard connectivity comes from both Air France and KLM, SkyTeam Alliance partners who plan to bring WiFi to their long-haul fleet as early as February 2013.
Naturally that date, which is little more than 7 months away, will mark the start of trials of Panasonic's technology onboard two Boeing 777-300s. Taking the tech fleet-wide is still a ways off, but at least you'll be able to be one of the first to try it, assuming you pay attention to the plane you're flying to Paris or Amsterdam. Look for one of these atop your airplane.
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Oh Alaska Airlines, you’re such a tease!
The carrier is celebrating its in-flight WiFi awesomeness by offering some freebies, but be careful when you take them up on your offer—‘cause you’ll quickly be hooked. Unfortunately, not every Alaska Airlines flight offers WiFi, but there’s plenty of options where you can take some in-flight internet access for a spin and for free.
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For scale, that's a magazine down there in the lower left corner
By now we're going to go ahead and assume that you've lost your in-flight WiFi virginity, but have you done it over an ocean yet?
Long-haul WiFi is a real thing, and some airlines already have it installed and ready to run via satellites, provided you're willing to pay for the service. For example, Lufthansa, via its partnership with Panasonic, offers "FlyNet," which runs 20 Euros for 24 hours (with other pricing plans available). You can fly from the US to Germany and send a braggy Facebook status update from above Iceland. You know you want to.
A connection to the world wide web from 38,000' doesn't just happen by magic, of course; there's technology up the wazoo working to let you tweet "I'm on a plane." That technology is mostly contained within a special bump on the top of the plane's bodylook for it on aircraft and you'll begin to see it everywhere. That bump is the home of a tiny satellite dishthe one pictured above. You have it to thank for long-haul in-flight internet and live satellite TV, where available of course.
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There’s plenty of domestic in-flight WiFi to be found in and around the nifty fifty, and even long-haul options are starting to pop up here and there. However, if there was one place where all this up in the air connectivity has been limited it's Africa, but thankfully that’s not going to be the case for long.
Low cost carrier Mango—they’re kind of like the little brother of South African Airways—is getting ready to connect passengers at 35,000 feet. It sounds like Row 44, Vodacom and Wireless G are teaming up to provide the in-flight internet magic. G-Connect In-Flight WiFi isn’t just some limited gimmick either, as it sounds like email, websites and all the other World Wide Web tidbits are yours for the browsing. There’s even plans to bring some kind of text message system to the comfort of your tray table as well.
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Right now plans are still in the works regarding the entire international fleet, but for now there’s going to be some A380s connected to the World Wide Web no matter where you are above the earth. Thanks to plenty of satellites—and the OnAir system—your Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and whatever else accounts will just be a few clicks away. Honestly, we kind of feel a little badly for the inflight magazine right about now.