United Launches Satellite-Based Wi-Fi Service

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, Jan 15, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
    • Original Member

    UA Insider Official Representative

    Hi Everyone, we are getting ready to issue the following release regarding our new onboard Wi-Fi service and wanted to give you a first look. There’s more great progress to come.

    Shannon Kelly
    Director, Customer Insights
    United Airlines



    CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2013 – United Airlines has introduced onboard satellite-based Wi-Fi internet connectivity on the first of its international widebody aircraft, becoming the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer customers the ability to stay connected while traveling on long-haul overseas routes.

    The aircraft, a Boeing 747 outfitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Ku-band satellite technology, serves trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.

    Additionally, United has outfitted Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on two Airbus 319 aircraft serving domestic routes, offering customers faster inflight Internet service than air-to-ground technology (ATG). The company expects to complete installation of satellite-based Wi-Fi on 300 mainline aircraft by the end of this year.

    “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. “With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly.”

    Customers have the choice of two speeds: Standard, priced initially between $3.99 and $14.99 depending on the duration of flight, and Accelerated, priced initially between $5.99 and $19.99 and offering faster download speeds than Standard.

    United will install satellite-based Wi-Fi on Airbus 319 and 320 aircraft, and on Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Customers will be able to use their wireless devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets onboard those aircraft to connect with internet service using the in-flight hotspot.

    United is upgrading its fleet with more than $550 million in additional onboard improvements, including:
    • Offering the world’s largest fleet of aircraft with flat-bed seats, with more than 175 aircraft with 180-degree flat beds in premium cabins once the airline completes the installation in the second quarter.
    • Expanding extra-legroom Economy Plus seating to provide the most such seating of any U.S. carrier.
    • Revamping the transcontinental “p.s.” fleet of airplanes that fly between New York Kennedy and Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering an improved premium cabin with fully flat beds, Wi-Fi Internet service, and personal on-demand entertainment at every seat.
    • Improving inflight entertainment options with streaming video content on the Boeing 747-400 fleet.
    • Retrofitting overhead bins on 152 Airbus aircraft, allowing for significantly greater storage of carry-on baggage.

    About United
    United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,557 flights a day to 378 airports on six continents from the airline’s hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. United is upgrading its cabins with more flat-bed seats in first and business class and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any other airline in North America. United now has 180 airplanes featuring DIRECTV®, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has orders for more than 270 new aircraft deliveries through 2022. In 2012, United was the first North American airline to take delivery of new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. United was rated the world’s most admired airline on FORTUNE magazine’s 2012 airline-industry list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United’s MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
    mht_flyer, unavaca, 8MiHi and 8 others like this.
  2. HeathrowGuy
    • Original Member

    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

    Praises be to the dear respected Supreme Leader Jeff Smisek and his faithful hardworking minions at United for making this great technological feat possible! The focus on ensuring that United is a leading airline with no equal on Earth is impressive. I look forward to trying out the new service as soon as my travel plans permit.
  3. mherdeg
    • Original Member

    mherdeg Silver Member

    Awesome to hear you think this is ready to announce publicly! Are there any plans to complete an entire subfleet (e.g. all the 757-200s) so that people can try to deliberately book a flight with onboard Internet access?

    IIRC this has been coming for a while — people have reported using the WiFi equipped 747 over the past couple of months, and I just read an in-air report on another forum from someone using this WiFi on an A319 about how he had been involuntarily downgraded from the F cabin and told he wouldn't be allowed to board his flight unless he signed a "you volunteered for this" statement.
    Kalboz, 8MiHi and desamo like this.
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    What's the schedule for that?
    desamo likes this.
  5. RRK

    RRK Silver Member

    “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. “With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly.”

    LOVE IT !!!!

    Very eager to try this new service, especially on a HNL to IAD 9 hour flight. First Class gets a nasty cold mediterranean snack ( no dinner option ) with a 9.10 PM departure. That's it, BUT soon I have plenty of
    time to surf on the internet on THE airline that customers want to fly.

    Kalboz and desamo like this.
  6. Captain Oveur
    • Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    Hard to figure out what's more tired, this line or the Smisek videos.
  7. Captain Oveur
    • Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    For what it's worth, if you want to look up the tail number of the 752 that was used for UA 669 SAN-DEN last Friday, that bird had the Wi-Fi installed, but it wasn't live yet (meaning the Wi-Fi signal was in the aircraft, but it looked the the internet connectivity was not live, it just asked for a password to get in, no pricing schemes or anything beyond that).
  8. canucklehead
    • Original Member

    canucklehead Gold Member

    Great news! Will there also be a monthly plan?
  9. Wandering Aramean
    • Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    mht_flyer, HeathrowGuy, 8MiHi and 2 others like this.
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    I love the first question. What is Wifi?

    Also nice to see that they allow the use of multiple devices (though not concurrently, which is fine with me). Do some work on the laptop, then relax and use the iPad. Works for me.
    gobluetwo, mht_flyer and From NYC like this.
  11. Mackieman
    • Original Member

    Mackieman Gold Member

    There are lots of fun bits in those FAQs. Like JavaScript being required to secure the transaction.

    But it does make some sense to be as basic as possible given the wide range of experience amongst the breadth of UA's customer base.
    mht_flyer likes this.
  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

    Oooh, Shannon, a change we'll like. Pity it wasn't available on SFO-NRT. :)
  13. secretsea18
    • Original Member

    secretsea18 Gold Member

    Does anyone know the tail number of the 747 with wifi?
  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

  15. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

    Where are the dishes mounted on the plane?

    Hoping for 2013 MP we get some free uses based on status
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    At the top. Here's a prototype:

    bigx0, bonnerbl, gobluetwo and 10 others like this.
  17. Wandering Aramean
    • Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Kalboz, mht_flyer, OnTehWings and 2 others like this.
  18. unavaca
    • Original Member

    unavaca Gold Member

    Sigh, 600+ ms of latency/ping on these connections and not appreciably faster than my recent p.s. experiences with GoGo.
  19. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

    One word: millilightseconds.
  20. emwitty

    emwitty Silver Member

    Exactly. This, and where is Grace Hopper with her nanoseconds demo when we need her?
    frankmu, Kalboz and mht_flyer like this.
  21. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

    600 is gonna sound fast compared to other sat based internet I have used, althought being 35k in the air should reduce travel distance for packets! Does anyone know which sat's these are gonna feed from?
  22. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    10 kilometers won't make a big difference for the packets when they travel to a geostationary satellite up at 35,786 kilometers.
    desamo and emwitty like this.
  23. unavaca
    • Original Member

    unavaca Gold Member

    I was comparing this to ATG-based systems, like GoGo.
  24. From NYC
    • Original Member

    From NYC Gold Member

    Geat news. Thanks, Shannon.

    Perhaps might be on the inaugural DEN-NRT 787 flight?????:rolleyes:
  25. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

    I think United, Boeing, and the FAA already said no WiFi on the 787 'till 2014 or 2015.

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