United Airlines launched in-flight connectivity powered by Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite service on its first commercial flight Tuesday.
United is the first U.S.-based carrier to offer passengers Wi-Fi internet connectivity on long-haul trans-oceanic flights. The first plane to be outfitted with the service is a Boeing 747, and the airline plans to roll out the service on Airbus A319 and A320 planes, and on Boeing 737, 757, 767, 777 and 787 planes.
“Satellite-based Wi-Fi service enables us to better serve our customers and offer them more of what they want in a global airline,” said Jim Compton, vice chairman and chief revenue officer at United Airlines.
The new service is part of a $550 million investment in onboard improvements from United, as it has announced plans for new seating upgrades and other cabin improvements.
Furthermore, United’s new service is an example of the trend of more airlines looking to offer in-flight connectivity. Currently, about 20 percent of the world’s fleet offer Wi-Fi on commercial flights, a number that should continue to grow in 2013. More