Boeing Promises Better In-Flight Wi-Fi

Inflight Wi-Fi is about to improve thanks to BoeingThere is no doubt that one of the best innovations in air travel in recent years has been the addition of in-flight Wi-Fi. Not only does it help us to stay more productive, but it is a great way of staying in touch with friends and family, not to mention keeping entertained on a longer flight. Of course, if you’ve ever used wireless Internet while on a plane, you probably know that the quality of the connection varies widely, ranging from incredibly slow to impressively fast – especially considering you’re in a flying tube 30,000 feet above the ground. Now, Boeing is promising to make the experience a much more consistent one thanks to a new method of testing and optimizing the Wi-Fi signal strength in a plane.

Boeing’s new testing process arose from a set of existing proprietary tools that they already used to ensure radio signals from Wi-Fi didn’t interfere with the aircraft’s instrumentation. While using those tools they discovered that they could be fine tuned to help optimize the signal of the wireless router for greater efficiency. They also managed to cut the time for testing down from two weeks to just ten hours, significantly improving an engineers’ ability to improve wireless performance in a short amount of time.

What all of this means for you and I as travelers is that we’ll soon have a much more consistent and useful Wi-Fi connection on longer flights. In their press release touting this improvement, Boeing stated that even people getting up and moving about the cabin could have a detrimental effect on signal strength, but with this new method of testing, they were quickly and more efficiently able to tune the router for better performance, greatly limiting these issues. That’s something that we can all appreciate.

Now, if the airlines would just hurry up and get Wi-Fi working properly on more international flights, I’ll be one happy traveler.

[Photo Credit: EPA via WikiMedia]

Air France And KLM Next Up For International In-Flight Wi-Fi

air france planesOne of our biggest pet peeves about long-haul international flights of late has been the lack of Wi-Fi available on board. We can use our in-flight Internet from New York to California, but the minute we head off the coast, we’re out of luck.

The expense of offering this satellite Wi-Fi has proven prohibitive for airlines that see low usage and high costs to outfit planes with new technology. International Wi-Fi isn’t impossible – just infrequently available.

Lufthansa, for example, already offers this service on many of their flights, Qantas has trialed the program between Los Angeles and Australia, and United is set to roll out the service later this year.

Now AirFrance and KLM airlines have joined with Panasonic Avionics to roll out a program of their own. They will begin offering in-flight connectivity trials on long-haul flights beginning in early 2013.

This will enable travelers to stay connected with the world through text messages or emails, and allow for an Internet connection and ultimately live broadcasts of TV programs. On the specially designed in-flight website, a broad range of services will be offered for free, like latest news, TV channels, relevant airline and destination information and unique offers of online magazines.

“Being permanently connected is now part of our customers’ daily lifestyles. This trial run is the first step of Air France’s and KLM’s long-term strategy to offer in-flight connectivity solutions across our long-haul fleet,” said Christian Herzog, senior vice president of marketing for Air France and KLM.

The trial phase will be conducted over the year 2013 on two Boeing 777-300s, operated by each airline. During this period, travelers will be able to hook up to the Internet via their Wi-Fi enabled smartphone, laptop or tablet PC at a fixed rate, as well as use their mobile phone for SMS or email, whatever their travel class.

It sounds like a great program, and one we hope to see more of on other airlines in the future.

[Flickr via slasher-fun]

Delta gives the gift of free in-flight WiFi

This holiday season, Delta has partnered up with eBay and Gogo to offer travelers 30 minutes of free in-flight wireless Internet on all WiFi-enabled aircraft through January 2.

Connecting is super simple: just open your browser, enter your email address on the promotional page, click the “Give Me Free WiFi” button, and boom — enough free connectivity to check your email and reconfirm your hotel reservation.

While outside websites will shut off after the first half hour, web surfers can continue to shop on eBay.com and interact with delta.com throughout the course of the flight, a part of the promotion obviously geared toward last minute holiday shoppers.


Delta currently has more than 2,500 daily flights on WiFi-outfitted planes, and inflight wireless service generally costs around $12 for a 24-hour pass. Let’s hope next year they feel extra generous and grant us free connections all year ’round.

Google spreads holiday cheer with complimentary Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi

Once again, Google is giving away some really nice holiday presents this season. Last year, the search giant provided free Wi-Fi at airports around the nation, and this year they are bringing their generosity to the skies by offering complimentary Wi-Fi on flight aboard AirTran, Delta and Virgin America flights. These three airlines have outfitted their entire fleet with Wi-Fi, powered by Gogo Inflight.

The promotion starts On November 20, and lasts till January 2 – which means flying during the holiday season won’t be that bad this year. Google is using the promotion to create some buzz for their Chrome Browser. If you haven’t tried Chrome, I can highly recommend taking it for a spin.

You can connect to Gogo Inflight using your Wi-Fi enabled laptop, PDA, smartphone or tablet – and you’ll enjoy broadband speeds as soon as the captain says you can safely use your device.

If you are flying one of the Gogo Inflight enabled airlines not included in the promotion, you can still get online – and prices start at just $4.95 for flights under and hour and a half. For the entire overview of pricing options, head on over to Gogo Inflight.

For more on the promotion, head on over to freeholidaywifi.com.

HasWifi.com answers a simple question – will my plane have inflight Wi-Fi?

Determining whether your next flight offers Wi-Fi isn’t that hard – most airline web sites have their own widget to help answer the question, but things can always be a bit easier. HasWiFi lets you enter your flight information, and instantly tells you whether you’ll be online for your flight, or whether you’ll need to suffer through another horrible inflight movie.

If you want to make life even easier, you can link the site with your TripIt account, and it’ll pull your upcoming flight information from their service, without having to look up flight numbers yourself.

Search results display the flight number, airplane type, destination and of course whether you’ll actually have Wi-Fi. The site also provides user feedback, in case the information from the airline turns out to be incorrect.

All in all, a very easy to use site. The content is simple enough to be viewed on a mobile phone, and the creator kept things nice and clean. So, before your next flight, head on over to HasWifi, and if you are lucky enough to be able to get online, don’t forget to create a Gogo Inflight account to make getting online even quicker.