Great news for in-flight Internet


Two big stories out today about in-flight connectivity, both of which have me very excited.

The first is an announcement from Virgin America and Google that the latter is going to be sponsoring the gogo service for a two month period – November 10 – January 15.  No credit card, no restrictions.  Just an email address and accept the Terms of Service and you’re online.  Considering that I have a flight booked my first on Virgin America) for November 11 from Los Angeles to JFK I’m pretty happy about that for very selfish reasons.

The second story comes from The Runway Girl, one of my favorite reads for in-flight entertainment news.  She’s at the NBAA conference this week and has been reporting all sorts of cool stuff.  The coolest, however, is an announcement from LiveTV, the jetBlue subsidiary that operates the in-flight TV systems for that carrier and Continental, among other things.  LiveTV has been suggesting that there is a good chance additional in-flight internet connectivity will be coming online in 2010 and the latest news is that they’ve got an antenna ready to go for providing the service.  Even better, the cost of operating the service is so low that they expect airlines to be able to offer it on a complimentary basis to passengers.  Oh, and did I mention that the service would be available absolutely anywhere on the globe – including the polar regions – thanks to the fact that it uses the Iridium satellite network?  This is nothing short of huge in terms of in-flight connectivity.

Now we just need LiveTV to finish up the R&D part of the project and get to the implementation phase so that I can have my emails for free in flight.

It is pretty clear that there is a demand for internet connectivity in-flight.  And the fact that companies are continuing to find ways to reduce the costs to the end-user – something that will be critical to actually seeing high adoption rates – is a wonderful thing.  Free is always better, right?

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

4 Comments

  1. Assuming you mean the recent announcement about Lufthansa's FlyNet service, no, this is different. I'm guessing that this will first see the light of day either on jetBlue or Continental since they are the main LiveTV customers today.

    The Lufthansa bit is a different radio spectrum and connectivity provider. Details on that announcement are here.

  2. I think it's all great, but I'm hoping that what Continental launches ends up being far better than what jetBlue is flying around with now. Free Internet is great, if it's useful. Being able to access only a few websites that have paid to be included, and a few e-mail services (none of which I use) is pointless to me. I'd rather pay if I really need to be online and have something I can really use, rather than have a free option that doesn't do anything for me.

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