U.S. airline JetBlue revealed this week its intentions to roll out high-speed wireless networking in the first quarter of 2013.
The announcement was made to crew members through an internal memo sent on Monday and published by The Verge. The airline is expected to confirm the announcement at the World Low Cost Airlines Conference this week.
Wi-Fi connectivity is seen by the airline as a powerful asset to win over customers, particularly ones who travel for work. "Customers, especially those traveling for business, with everything else being equal, will choose the airline that offers connectivity, even if the service is spotty or expensive."
After carrying out a series of tests, the carrier has chosen the service provided by ViaSat. According to the memo, several tests carried out in January showed that the internet provider can load up to 10 web pages in an average of one minute, a lot faster compared to an unnamed competitor that took over eight minutes to accomplish the same task.
The budget airline indicates that it will provide the service for free until at least 30 planes have been equipped.
Other budget airlines have introduced Wi-Fi service recently. Such is the case of Japan Airlines, offering paid Wi-Fi since the summer in local and international flights. The airline charges around $11 for an hour of connectivity.
Also this summer, South African low-cost airline Mango introduced Wi-Fi service. For the first month of the service, the airline offered free connectivity to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Low-cost JetBlue serves 71 cities in the U.S. and the Americas with 700 daily flights. The carrier is planning on launching services this November to several cities including Cartagena, Colombia and Samana in the Dominican Republic.
This story was posted on Wed, September 19, 2012
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