Chasing the Megabits: On the First JetBlue E190 with FlyFi


Why did I set my alarm for 4:30am yesterday (and wake up before it went off)? Because my first of four flights was a 6:24a departure from JFK on JetBlue, headed up to Boston to chase down some megabits. The company announced today that the Fly-Fi in-flight internet service is now fully deployed on its Airbus A320/A321 fleet and also that rollout on the Embraer E190s has started. Two of the 60 aircraft are running and yesterday’s 8:15am Boston-Dulles trip was the very first to have the service active. And JetBlue hosted me on board (for RGN) to put the connection through its paces and see if it was ready to handle the loads.

And, for better or worse, I do enjoy the views at an airport for the early morning flights. I hate the alarm clock, but I love the views. It is a tough balance.

Not surprisingly, the service works spectacularly well. I actually got speed test results which were inexplicably fast (40Mbit+) while others on board saw more typical numbers (20-ish Mbit).

The upload speed remains artificially capped – it showed signs of symmetric capacity during the testing process and that was later confirmed – to ensure that the download performance remains sufficient. And there is chatter within the organization of increasing that cap over time. But I was able to stream a Periscope broadcast off the plane and also able to watch a Periscope being broadcast from Gogo’s 2Ku test plane. So that was a pretty spectacular moment of plane-to-plane video streaming fun.

And while the work part of the day was productive there was also the chance to catch a couple spectacular views out the windows, like this one:

I was sitting across the aisle and heard other passengers talking about it. Just a couple seconds to grab my camera out of my bag, fire off a few frames and hope it worked. Yeah, it was a good day.

 

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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, LinkedIn and .

2 Comments

  1. Any word on the weekly pace of installs? I’m a Jetblue mosaic and the e190s not having wifi is one of my last real issues with Jetblue. I know they are supposed to be all done by fall 2016 just wondering if it is gonna be steady place of upgrades or more of a ramp up as deadline approaches….

    1. The retrofits are being done as part of the maintenance checks on the majority of the aircraft so it won’t be particularly steady. They’re also adjusting the process to account for peaks and valleys in demand for flights overall. Things are slow right now, for example, but pick back up from Thankgsiving-ish through the New Year. Then they spike again near Spring Break/Easter.

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