JetBlue Rolling Out Free Wi-Fi

By starting to introduce free in flight Wi-Fi service thismonth, JetBlue is further enhancing its value reputation for offering cheap traveloptions, including cheapairplane tickets, discounttravel deals, and cheap vacation packages.

A basic version of Wi-Fi being called Simply Surf will befree during the first half of 2014. Passengers who wish to be able to stream videos or download large filescan do so by singing up for a premium service called Fly-Fi Plus for $9 perhour.

Pricing for the back half of the year has yet to be decidedupon, though JetBlue hopes to keep its basic Wi-Fi option free. The airline views a free option as a highlydesirable peoples product where passengers can enjoy unlimited web surfingwithout having to pay for it.

While JetBlue is one of the final U.S. airlines tointroduce in flight Wi-Fi, it hopes to make up for its slow start by offeringsuperior speed at an appealing price. The strategy was to wait until the airline found a really good system sothat its customers would be offered something that was not available elsewhere.

JetBlue views providing its passengers with the ability toupload photos and videos to Twitter or Facebook from 10,000 feet as anopportunity to engage its customers. This will dramatically change the airlines social media landscape byopening up opportunities to chat with passengers and receive more immediatefeedback.

By offering Wi-Fi in the air JetBlue believes passengerswill live tweet, live blog, live film their experiences, and share them in realtime.

Unfortunately passengers will not yet be able to order inflight service via social media in the near future.

Initially five JetBlue jets were outfitted with in flightWi-Fi at the start of 2014. Plans callfor Wi-Fi to be added to over 140 planes throughout this year.

Its Wi-Fi service will use high speed satelliteconnectivity powered by ViaSat and JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV. ViaSats satellite system is superior toWi-Fi services offered by Gogo, Panasonic, and Row44 because it allots highspeed bandwidth per passenger instead of per plane. JetBlue passengers will not have to competewith one another for a strong connection. Download speeds of 20.62 Mbps have been recorded using the new service.

ViaSats network today only covers the continental UnitedStates, but will expand when ViaSat launches its second satellite inmid-2016. The expanded coverage willmake Wi-Fi available on overseas flights to Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, andEurope.
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