JetBlue in-flight internet access coming in 2012, worth the wait?

JetBlue is going to offer in-flight internet access! This is exciting news, right? JetBlue is one of the more exciting airlines in the market right now, having figured out how to offer solid customer service without jacking up fares (a combination the major carriers believe is impossible to attain … despite the fact that JetBlue has done so). So, the airline is getting into the internet game, a space in which it has lagged many other carriers.

Unfortunately, JetBlue isn’t going to begin installing the equipment until the middle of 2012, as it needs to be checked out and approved by the FAA before the airline can put it into production, according to FlightGlobal. The slow start might actually work to JetBlue’s advantage.

Rather than implement the solutions already out on the market, JetBlue has selected a different type of internet access technology, which should translate to better internet service for its passengers – which pairs well with the high levels of customer service the airline already offers. Unlike existing internet access systems, which interact with the ground, the JetBlue system will hit satellites. JetBlue CEO Dave Barger explains to FlightGlobal:

“In just the three years since we launched BetaBlue, the first commercial aircraft with simple messaging capability, technology has advanced by generations. Rather than invest in current technology, designed to transmit broadcast video and audio, we elected to partner with ViaSat to create broadband functionality worthy of today’s interactive personal technology needs.”

Barger also says, “This system will be designed for the 21st century, not just for today’s personal connectivity needs, but with the bandwidth to expand to meet tomorrow’s needs as well.”

[Via Business Insider]