A laggard when it comes to adding WiFi Internet connectivity on domestic routes, United Airlines is starting to take the service international.
The airline has recently outfitted a Boeing 747 wide body aircraft that serves trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes with Panasonic Avionics' Ku-band satellite technology to provide WiFi Internet to passengers.
United says it's the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer passengers the ability to stay connected while traveling on long-haul overseas routes.
Unlike air-to-ground technology that requires cell phone towers, satellite-based WiFi service works over water too.
Pricing for WiFi
Depending on duration of the flight and speed of the service, United's satellite WiFi Internet connectivity will cost passengers between $3.99 and $19.99.
Passengers can use wireless devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets to connect to the Internet via the in-flight hotspot.
More WiFi Installations
United has outfitted Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on two Airbus 319 aircraft serving domestic routes.
In all, the airline expects to install satellite-based Wi-Fi on 300 mainline aircraft by the end of this year.
United's Wi-Fi expansion should come as welcome news to both business and leisure travelers.
The Chicago Tribune writes that United has been "far behind competitors in offering Wi-Fi on domestic flights. Delta Air Lines, for example, has Internet connectivity on all its mainline and regional aircraft, while United has had virtually none, except a few coast-to-coast flights."
United intends to install satellite-based Wi-Fi on Airbus 319 and 320 aircraft, and on Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.