JetBlue To Offer Free High-Speed Wi-Fi on All Planes by Fall 2016
America's fifth largest airline, JetBlue, is hoping to set the Internet free -- at least for its passengers. The carrier announced yesterday that it has already installed Wi-Fi technology on its fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, with installation on the remainder of the aircraft in its fleet expected to be completed by the fall of next year.
In addition to the A320 and A321, the carrier also installed its Wi-Fi technology, knows as “Fly-Fi,” on its Embraer 190 aircraft. The company said it completed the first official flight of a Fly-Fi-enabled E190 this week. Fly-Fi uses Ka-band satellite technology to offer a broadband Internet experience similar to what customers have at home, including the ability to stream video and use multiple devices at once.
First Carrier with Free WiFi
The development means JetBlue is set to become the first U.S. carrier to offer free Wi-Fi to all passengers on all its flights. "Soon every JetBlue customer will step on board knowing their aircraft is equipped with free, fast Internet and entertainment, the same way they expect our friendly service and the most legroom in coach," said Jamie Perry, vice president of brand and product development at JetBlue, in a statement. "Our Fly-Fi model has proven that there is a way to offer customers more without adding extra costs to their travel."
The carrier also announced that is has partnered with Amazon to develop an in-flight entertainment system to provide passengers with unlimited, on-demand content through Amazon Video. Amazon Prime members will have access to streaming movies and TV in flight at no additional cost to their Prime membership subscriptions. The carrier has also inked agreements with Major League Baseball and the Wall Street Journal to provide additional streaming content.
The company said its Fly-Fi technology supports streaming speeds up to 20 Mbps per device, allowing it to offer passengers more content than any other U.S. carrier.
Video, Books, and Magazines
The carrier is calling the new entertainment system "The Hub." Passengers will be able to access The Hub with their laptops, smartphones, or tablets. In addition to entertainment content, The Hub will also host educational and news content, according to JetBlue. Vox Media, PBS, and National Geographic have all agreed to provide video content for The Hub, which will also host e-books from HarperCollins Publishers and magazines from Time Inc.
But JetBlue is not the only airline moving to offer passengers more options to access the Internet while in the air. Just a few weeks ago, Virgin America announced a deal with Netflix to allow travelers on the its ViaSat Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft to access the company’s entire catalog of streaming TV episodes and movies in flight.
But the Virgin America offer may be somewhat less appealing than JetBlue’s. For one thing, Virgin America is still in the process of rolling out the ViaSat satellite-based Internet system, so not every aircraft will have the ability to access Netflix. And while Netflix’s content is free to passengers at the moment, the airline indicated that it plans to begin charging for the service beginning March 2.
Posted: 2015-10-17 @ 4:05pm PT
Free WiFi while they keep charging fees for luggage? Does not make sense to me. Too blue to be true?