Alaska Airlines expects to have in-flight internet service available fleet-wide by the end of 2010 according to Craig Chase, Manager of Product Development and Market Research. While they haven’t announced a formal contract with provider Row44 yet, that seems to be the logical choice based on the current testing that the two are performing on one of Alaska Air’s planes today and the additional work that they are performing together to gain certification for the Row44 hardware on the other plane types in the fleet.
A deal with Alaska Air would be the second major carrier for Row44 and would mark the end of the US-based in-flight WiFi game in many ways. All the other major carriers have announced plans of some sort for connectivity over the next 18 months or so. Not all of them will have something actually in place, but they’ve all made it clear what their plans are.
Of the announced plans, only Continental is really up in the air right now. The carrier is still looking at a trial of the LiveTV Kiteline service, expected to start late this year or early 2010, pending availability of the service. Pretty much everyone else has some plan announced to be in deployment or completed.
Of course, there is still the issue of whether the providers are going to be solvent at the end of 2010, with rumors swirling around AirCell after a decent number of layoffs there recently. Eventually someone is going to figure out how to offer the service profitably and it’d be great if that were sooner than later.
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