US airline United has announced new satellite-based Wi-Fi on eight of its international aircraft, allowing users to stay connected to the internet even when flying out of the US and into other countries.
Other US carriers do not offer in-flight Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. United plans to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on 300 mainline aircraft - including the Boeing 747-400 - installed via Panasonic technology, by the end of this year.
The Wi-Fi will be priced at two speeds - standard and accelerated. Standard will be priced between $3.99 and $14.99 depending on the duration of flight, with accelerated offering faster download speeds and being priced between $5.99 and $19.99.
“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, United's vice-chairman. “With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly.”
As technology has advanced, customers have become accustomed to taking advantage of in-flight Wi-Fi to get work done. Now they'll be able to stay connected on international flights - as long as their gadgets don't die, as United hasn't given its fleet power jacks.
In the UK, Virgin Atlantic is beginning to use Wi-Fi on its Airbus widebodies and plans to roll it out across its remaining A330s, A340s and Boeing 747s throughout 2013.
Have you used in-flight Wi-Fi? How fast was it?