United quietly launches Row44 in-flight Internet trial

Without much publicity United Airlines has installed the in-flight Internet service offering from provider Row44 in one of their 757-200 aircraft. Ship N593UA was fitted with the satellite-based system and re-entered service with the connectivity active on December 3, 2010. The install is a trial to evaluate customer uptake and performance.

The move is somewhat surprising given that United has already installed the gogo service on their p.s. aircraft. It is even more surprising given the decision earlier this year by merger partner Continental to scrap their trial of any in-flight internet service options following the announcement from LiveTV that their previously promised Kiteline service would not be offered. Still, it is nice to see the carriers continuing to evaluate options and grow the connectivity options.

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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.


    1. Isn’t Gogo limited to continental US while Row44 can serve overwater areas? Maybe this precursor to Internet availability on international flights where it may be more valuable than on shorter domestic flights

    2. Theoretically, yes. But it still depends on satellite coverage areas. Similar to the LiveTV systems, where the coverage is from space but only mostly is around the USA Row44 has to be near the mainland USA to work. There are other programs that can work further afield (Lufthansa finally just got FlyNet back in service – http://blog.wandr.me/2010/12/in-flight-internet-coverage-continues-to-spread/) and they also are satellite-based but the current Row44 system won’t really range too far.

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