United unveils international long-haul Wi-Fi service

Passengers of United Airlines can now stay connected to the Internet while traveling on long-haul overseas routes.

The airline this week unveiled onboard satellite-based Wi-Fi Internet connectivity on its first international widebody aircraft. The plane, a Boeing 747 outfitted with Panasonic Avionics' Ku-band satellite technology, serves trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.'

United is the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based long-haul Internet connectivity to its customers. It has also outfitted Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on two Airbus 319 aircraft serving domestic routes. United said the Ku-band service delivers faster in-flight Internet service than air-to-ground technology (ATG).

United said it expects to complete installation of satellite-based Wi-Fi on 300 of its mainline aircraft by year's end. The company will install satellite-based Wi-Fi on the Airbus 319 and 320 aircraft, and on Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.

United customers have the choice of two data services: standard, priced initially between $3.99 and $14.99 depending upon flight duration, and accelerated, priced initially between $5.99 and $19.99 and touting faster download speeds than standard.

Satellite service is becoming more mainstream on passenger aircraft. ATG service provider Gogo is also adding satellite capability to its offerings. In May 2012 Gogo announced a partnership with AeroSat to bring a Ku-satellite solution to airlines traveling transoceanic routes. Gogo also has signed on to offer service using Inmarsat's Global Xpress Ka-satellite service.

For more:
- see this United release
- see this SlashGear article

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