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BizReport : Internet : September 20, 2012


Airline ups the ante with free mile-high Wi-Fi

Today's air travelers want Wi-Fi and airlines are luring passengers with the promise of mile-high browsing. While some passengers would be prepared to pay a small fee, and airlines debate how much to charge, one airline has thrown down the gauntlet with the offer of free in-flight Wi-Fi.

by Helen Leggatt

JetBlue_Airways_Logo.pngThe contents of a leaked JetBlue memo have today been confirmed by the airline. From the start of 2013, aircraft in the company's fleet equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi will offer the service for free.

Recent research from airline search engine Fly.com found that the majority (65%) of U.S. travelers think it is important that airlines off in-flight Internet access. However, almost half (49%) said they don't expect to pay extra to use their Internet connected devices and 27% would pay no more than $5.

So, that means JetBlue will become a serious option for those wanting to stay connected during air travel.

But, the free offer may not be available for long.

JetBlue, who will use ViaSat to provide the Wi-Fi service, will only provide the service for free until it become available on 30 aircraft. After that, email and browsing will remain free but streaming of films will attract a fee.

The rather exuberant, leaked memo that was first reported by The Verge earlier this week also reveals that JetBlue's Wi-Fi will be faster than its competitors.

"Our Wi-Fi will be lightning fast. In a series of tests, ViaSat's staff was able to load 10 web pages through our satellite service in an average of 1 minute, 18 seconds! The second-fastest service, commonly deployed by our competitors, took as long as 8 minutes, 42 seconds!"






Tags: airline industry, in-flight Internet, travel industry, travel trends, Wi-Fi trends








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