Continental announces in-flight WiFi plans. Again.

When Continental Airlines announced their deal with LiveTV to provide in-flight television service a couple years ago there was an additional piece to the deal. LiveTV was also supposed to provide in-flight internet service via their Kiteline product. It was going to be lighter (i.e. cheaper) for the airlines and cheaper for passengers, offering basic connectivity for passengers in the air.

As time marched on, however, that plan drifted away and then was finally shelved as LiveTV eventually admitted that the Kiteline project was dead. They never managed to get the antenna built the way they needed it and ultimately they decided to let the project die. It was too little, too late at that point to be a competitive service.

Fast forward to September 2010 where JetBlue announced that the LiveTV product was going to space. Rather than sticking with a terrestrial solution, they are going satellite-based, using the latest Ka-band technology available at the time. Actually, it isn’t even available yet. The ViaSat satellite is due to launch in 2011 and the service will come online once that happens.

Continental executed a letter of intent with LiveTV today to expand the carrier’s DirecTV installation to include the new ViaSat-based product. Just like they intended to offer the Kiteline solution a couple years ago. The first installs are not expected into aircraft until 2012 and the service is expected to be installed on the roughly 200 aircraft that Continental has currently fitted with DirecTV service or in line to be installed.

This is just the first of many steps to getting the service into production and on to the aircraft. Lots of details to still work out, including things like an install schedule and FAA approval of the hardware, not to mention actually getting a working product operating. Still, it is good to see progress on this front.

Faster, cheaper internet connectivity is a good thing to have.

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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. I’m glad they’re FINALLY doing something, and that it’s not the severely limited (practically useless) service that Kiteline was going to be. I just wish we still didn’t have to wait yet another year for service.

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