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United first US carrier to offer WIFI on long haul flights

Last Updated On: 1/17/2013

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.

United Airlines WiFi

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.