Posted on: 12 December 2013 by Mark Howells
JetBlue Airways has become the first airline to use high-speed Ka-band satellite connectivity with the launch of its Fly-Fi, its branded inflight internet product.
JetBlue noted that Fly-Fi Ka-band satellite connectivity is eight times faster than other inflight connections offered on other US airlines. During the beta period rollout, JetBlue will offer free basic web browsing on board, called Simply Surf, on Fly-Fi equipped aircraft until June 2014. In addition, JetBlue offers a live video streaming high-bandwidth plan, Fly-Fi Plus, at $9 per hour for applications such as streaming movies or large downloads. JetBlue has partnered with its IFE and connectivity subsidiary LiveTV as well as satellite provider ViaSat to bring Fly-Fi to life.
"This is a great day for JetBlue customers, as we provide the latest reason to choose JetBlue over the competition, in addition to our low fares, most legroom in coach, free snacks and award-winning customer service," declared Robin Hayes, JetBlue chief commercial officer. "As with all of JetBlue, our standard free offering beats their paid extras."
"Every traveller using Wi-Fi on JetBlue or any other carrier should test their connection with SpeedTest.net, and post their speeds using #WiFiFlightSpeed on social networks. Travellers should be able to see the speeds of all Wi-Fi systems in the sky and make an informed choice," commented Marty St George, JetBlue senior vice-president marketing and commercial strategy.
JetBlue says it spent more than two years working with LiveTV and ViaSat to create the best customer Wi-Fi experience in the sky. The airline explained that it chose a different path that “mirrors how it approaches bringing humanity back to air travel: invent a new, better experience that puts the customer's needs first”.
JetBlue launched the service with three Fly-Fi aircraft. It will have five by year-end and more than 140 aircraft by year-end 2014. JetBlue's Airbus A320 and A321 fleet will receive their Fly-Fi upgrades during 2014 at a rate of as many as 15 aircraft per month, while the Embraer 190 fleet will be completed in 2015.