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Alaska Airlines to Offer In-flight Internet Access

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as-history-overview4Alaska Airlines (s alk) has started a trial of satellite broadband technology from California-based Row 44 that will allow customers to get — what else? — Internet when on the go. Row 44 had predicted commercial rollout of its service in 2009. This new service will be called Alaska Airlines Inflight Wi-Fi; the trial will begin on an afternoon flight between Seattle and San Jose, Calif., and will run for about 60 days. If successful, the airline will roll out the service to its entire fleet. Row 44 has tied up with Southwest Airlines (s luv) and is challenging Aircell and its gogo service. Aircell has teamed up with Virgin America, American Airlines (s amr), Delta and others. Row 44 used Ku band satellites, while Aircell is based on an air-to-ground system. JetBlue-owned (s jblu) LiveTV and ViaSat (s vsat) are two other players vying to carve out a piece of the inflight broadband market. (Related: Inflight Broadband Cheat Sheet & Boeing, Boeing… Gone.)

10 Responses to “Alaska Airlines to Offer In-flight Internet Access”

  1. I recently used Aircell’s Gogo service on an SFO-JFK flight on Virgin America and loved it. $13 for 5 hrs of decent connectivity, when the alternatives are watching banal TV shows and movies, and flipping through catalogs.

    Virgin America also has power & USB outlets under the seat, so I could get as much mileage as possible out of my Air and charge my phone at the same time. Love it!

    As I’m off to Berlin next week and am facing an 11 hr flight, I’m annoyed that United & Lufthansa haven’t signed on for transatlantic service yet.

  2. When or if WIFI service on their Hawaii routes ever happens is questionable. While Row 44 is expected to work over water, as far as I know it has never done so yet. I’ve been following this for a while and posting about it, but remain hopeful but cautious.

    As for the $10 cost, it is based on some research which indicated that it is the amount that will “fly.”


    • @jeff

      thanks for that little tidbit. clearly aircell depends on proximity to cellular towers in order to work but row 44 should theoretically work everywhere.

      Where did you get the $10-cost information. Can you share the details?