Being connected to the internet is quickly becoming something we take for granted, like running water or electricity. That also appears to be the view of U.S. airline JetBlue, which has just switched on high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi for all users on all its flights — for free.
JetBlue has offered its Fly-Fi connectivity since 2013, and since 2016, it’s been free for all passengers. Until now however, the service has been offering relatively poor speeds, below what customers are used to experiencing in their own homes. Now, thanks to its satellite system, JetBlue is promising passengers a comparable experience — even when they’re thousands of feet in the air.
“It’s 2017 and our customers expect to be connected everywhere, whether that be from the comfort of their sofa or 35,000 feet above it.” said Jamie Perry, vice president of marketing at JetBlue, in a press release. “That’s why we’re so proud that JetBlue is now the only airline to offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi, live TV and movies for all customers on every plane.”
In-flight Entertainment at No Cost
The airline says the new system will be fast enough to allow passengers to stream video from services like Netflix — though it will favor Amazon’s film streaming services thanks to a partnership with the e-commerce giant — with JetBlue saying back in 2015 that the ViaSat service would be able to offer 20 Mbps connection to each user.
While comparable services from providers like Gogo offer similar services on other airlines, the big selling point of JetBlue’s in-flight Wi-Fi is that it’s free for all users, making it unique among U.S. airlines. The desire of travelers to be connected has grown in recent years alongside the rise of smartphones, which allow users to be constantly connected. Any disruption of that feeling can leave some people agitated — an issue JetBlue is clearly trying to address.
The service works by connecting to satellites in geostationary orbit around the globe, connecting to the antennae installed on all of JetBlue’s 227 aircraft. At the moment, JetBlue’s Fly-Fi is only available over the continental U.S., so some parts of its flights to and from the Caribbean and South America aren’t connected.
Instant connectivity is something consumers have come to expect, even when out of their homes. Hotels should provide WiFi as a standard to keep all guests happy, while employees should have access to mobile devices on the move. JetBlue’s latest offering highlights the need for the transportation industry to also offer this perk in order to keep up with the consumer demand for connectivity.
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