Feeds

Error 404 at 40,000 feet

Chicken, beef or WiFi, madam?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Struggling United Airlines could this year become the first US carrier to provide passengers with in-flight access to the internet.

United is to equip its fleet of aircraft with WiFi, after the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided that 802.11 b/g technology does not, in fact, harm the operation of an in-flight aircraft.

United, the World's second largest airline, wants to make WiFi-based internet access available on all its flights, after an initial rollout on domestic Boeing 757-200s.

"This certification is a crucial step to bring this in-flight wireless access to our customers," United said in a statement.

Analysts see Wi-Fi as yet another way to fleece the weary business traveler and carefree holiday. Forrester says 38 per cent of frequent flyers want in-flight access to the internet, and are willing to pay up to $25 per flight for the privilege. Lufthansa charges $29.95 a flight or $9.95 per half hour for onboard internet access.

That's potentially great news for United, which is struggling to get clear of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reverse a $1.6bn annual loss. Like many US carriers, United is wrestling with rising fuel prices and increased competition from an emerging generation of low-cost carriers in the saturated US market.

It's not money in the bank, though. First, United most outlast this Fall's planned "Air-to-Ground" spectrum allocation by the FCC for airborne WiFi services, when the US government is expected to sell service providers up to 8Mhz of frequency. United hopes it can also emerge from Chapter 11 during the Fall.

Next, United must stump up the cash for rollout of Wi-Fi across a fleet of 450 aircraft. That will be a particularly tricky hurdle to clear, coming at a time when management is under pressure to cut staffing and infrastructure costs.®

Related stories

Westminster to open Wi-Fi network to hoi polloi
Singapore Airlines plans in-flight live TV via Wi-Fi
Intel backs in-flight Wi-Fi initiative
British Airways flies high with broadband
Novell flies high with Lufthansa

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.