Tuesday, January 15, 2013

United Airlines now offers satellite-based Wi-Fi service onboard trans-oceanic flights

Major U.S air carrier United Airlines recently debuted its onboard satellite-based Wi-Fi internet service on the first of its international airplane, making the company the first U.S-based international airline to provide customers with connectivity services while traveling on long-haul, trans-oceanic routes.

The first trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific aircraft of United Airlines that will be equipped with Panasonic Avionics Corporation's Ku-band satellite technology is the Boeing 747. Moreover, United also equipped two Airbus 319 aircraft traveling domestic routes with Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi, allowing passengers to enjoy high-speed in-flight Internet service compared to air-to-ground technology (ATG). By the end of 2013, the U.S airline expects to finish installing satellite-based Wi-Fi on 300 mainline aircraft, including Airbus 320, Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787.

In a company statement, Vice Chairman and Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton said that by offering a satellite Internet service, it allows United Airlines to serve their passengers better and offer more than what they want in a global airline.

“With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly,” Compton added.

United Airlines passengers can choose between two speeds -- Standard, which costs initially between $3.99 and $14.99, depending on the duration of the flight, and Accelerated, which costs initially between $5.99 and $19.99, offering faster download speeds compared to Standard.

In other news, United Airlines is on the process of upgrading its aircrafts with more than $500 million in additional onboard improvements, including the following:

1. Offering the world’s biggest aircraft fleet with flat-bed seats, with more than 175 airplanes outfitted with 180-degree flat beds in premium cabins once United finishes installing in the second quarter.

2. Expanding extra-legroom Economy Plus seating to provide the most such seating of any U.S airline.

3. Renewing the transcontinental “p.s” fleet of aircrafts that travel between Los Angeles and New York Kennedy and San Francisco, offering passengers with a better premium cabin experience with fully flat beds, Wi-Fi Internet service and personal on-demand entertainment at every seat.

4. Enhancing inflight entertainment options by providing streaming video content on the Boeing 747-400 fleet.

5. Installing overhead bins on 152 Airbus aircrafts, providing a considerably greater amount of storage for carry-on baggage.

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