Aviation: United Airlines Equips 100 Aircraft with Wi-Fi Connectivity

IT and Social Media

It’s been 10 years since Michael Taylor made that tedious 11 to 14 hour trip across the Pacific Ocean. With the introduction of Wi-Fi aboard aircraft, he can’t help but wonder if his next trip won’t be FAR less boring than his last trip.

First live television, now Wi-Fi! What will airlines think of next?

The number of United Airlines’ airliners equipped with satellite Wi-Fi Internet connectivity has reached the century mark. The airline is equipping 30 airliners with the new technology a month. At this rate, 200 aircraft will have been outfitted by year’s end.

And I can’t help but think that this marks a giant leap forward in terms of the inflight experience. I’ve never been good at sleeping on aircraft. Surfing the net would surely be a very welcome change of pace!

According to the press release that I received from United Airlines, the airline has equipped more long-haul overseas flights with Internet connectivity than any other U.S.-based air carrier.

Asian Airlines

Which begs an important question: what about Asian carriers?

Is Cathay Pacific Airways doing this? What about Singapore Airlines? Or Korean Air? Or Thai Airways International?

Whatever. The new technology allows passengers flying on the United Airlines to connect to the Internet on their personal devices and remain productive throughout throught the airplane throughout the flight.

The airline currently offers satellite Wi-Fi on 13 Boeing 747 aircraft, which fly international routes to and from its key hub at San Francisco International Airport in Northern California.

United Airlines also offers the service on selected flights in and out of its Southern California hub at Los Angeles International Airport.

United offers satellite Wi-Fi on more than half of its combined fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, which operate in the United States and Canada.

The airline also offers air-to-ground Internet connectivity on its entire fleet of Boeing 757 transcontinental p.s. Premium Service aircraft, which operate on routes linking New York Kennedy International, Airport with the airline’s California hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In-Flight Television

United Airlines currently offers live television on 200 aircraft. The airline and plans to equip these aircraft with satellite Wi-Fi, as well.It expects to introduce the first Boeing 737 aircraft equipped with Ka-band satellite technology into service later this year.

United Airlines will also begin rolling-out Wi-Fi-enabled wireless entertainment, which the airline expects to eventually have on more than 200 aircraft, including Airbus A319s and A320s, Boeing 747s, and other types of airliners by mid-2014.

This new option will offer airline passengers on-demand programming from a library of movies and television shows, and equipped aircraft will offer more than 150 movies and nearly 200 television shows through its wireless network.

Passengers will be able to access these entertainment options with a host of portable electronic devices, including many kinds of laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

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