JetBlue (Stock Quote: JBLU) has finally decided to get on board with in-flight Wi-Fi.
The company announced today it plans to introduce satellite-based wireless connectivity for travelers starting in 2012. Despite boasting various in-flight entertainment options, Wi-Fi has been conspicuously absent from JetBlue’s list of amenities, even as a multitude of other airlines have begun offering the service on some or all of their flights. (JetBlue’s sole foray into in-flight connectivity was a program called BetaBlue, which was tested on a single Airbus.)
While JetBlue is late to the Wi-Fi game, the company promises that its offering will be worth the wait. Unlike airlines which offers broadband from signals which originate on the ground, JetBlue’s signal will come from above, via the ViaSat-1 satellite which is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2011. This is in contrast with the majority of airlines that use Gogo Inflight Internet, a service that relies on a mobile broadband network of ground towers.
“Their satellite… will create a generational leap in connectivity, bringing our Customers exponentially more bandwidth than any product in commercial aviation today,” wrote the airline on their official blog. The company did not give a specific release date or provide price points for the service.
What if you want to use the Internet on a plane before 2012? Which airline should you fly? Here’s a roundup of which airlines offer the ability to surf in the friendly skies.