Internet on Continental

 
Old May 25, 09, 9:44 pm
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Internet on Continental

With the rollout of Direct TV on several CO planes, what is happening with the internet rollout on CO? Obviously other airlines already have it...what about CO?
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Old May 25, 09, 10:34 pm
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i think you'll find several posts on this if you do a search.

In general, it isn't happening any time soon if at all. CO is going to study how well the uptake is on other carriers and if they can make money on it before making a decision.
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Old May 25, 09, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by kenferm View Post
With the rollout of Direct TV on several CO planes, what is happening with the internet rollout on CO? Obviously other airlines already have it...what about CO?
At an event in February, CO said that they feel the Internet is important, but it's on the back burner right now while they focus on TV. They said that the Internet would require you to have a laptop/PDA to purchase it, but with TV, you only need a headset which they can sell for $1. They feel like the TV is the better product to earn them money at this point.
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Old May 25, 09, 10:40 pm
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
At an event in February, CO said that they feel the Internet is important, but it's on the back burner right now while they focus on TV. They said that the Internet would require you to have a laptop/PDA to purchase it, but with TV, you only need a headset which they can sell for $1. They feel like the TV is the better product to earn them money at this point.
TV nor internet is a big revenue for the airlines, lot of the investment is being done by the providers, and while revenue is split, the majority is not going the airlines way.
It is however a good way to keep a customer; happy.
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Old May 25, 09, 10:50 pm
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
but with TV, you only need a headset which they can sell for $1.
A small point, but a few people have mentioned this now that you still need to buy the $1 headset on TV-equipped flights. This is not the case - there is a DirectTV branded "bucket" immediately next to the boarding door that says "Free Headsets" on it - you can just get one there before heading to your seat.
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Old May 25, 09, 11:03 pm
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
They said that the Internet would require you to have a laptop/PDA to purchase it, but with TV, you only need a headset which they can sell for $1. They feel like the TV is the better product to earn them money at this point.
The specific concern was the percentage of customers who would have to buy the service to even make offering internet sustainable.

That said, I think DL's offering internet - almost always too expensive for my taste - but making some sites free is a very positive customer relations item.
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Old May 25, 09, 11:23 pm
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
A small point, but a few people have mentioned this now that you still need to buy the $1 headset on TV-equipped flights. This is not the case - there is a DirectTV branded "bucket" immediately next to the boarding door that says "Free Headsets" on it - you can just get one there before heading to your seat.
Cool, thanks for this. I wonder if it's just a promo thing while they roll out the TV or if it'll be here for the long run.
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Old May 26, 09, 5:41 am
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Originally Posted by icurhere2 View Post
The specific concern was the percentage of customers who would have to buy the service to even make offering internet sustainable.

That said, I think DL's offering internet - almost always too expensive for my taste - but making some sites free is a very positive customer relations item.
U.S. carriers with internet service are currently AA, DL, and VX. WN is currently testing an internet solution. B6 has one internet-equipped plane.

I think CO is not wise to eschew internet service because it has so many business travelers. Whenever you read those posts about CO flight loading with 70 or more elites, who do you think those people are? They're certainly not leisure travelers, but all business travelers, many of whom would be likely to use pay internet service.

The biggest problem for CO is probably the lack of seat pitch, the fact that, for many people, the economy section on CO is so cramped that it is very hard to comfortably use a laptop.
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Old May 26, 09, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
I think CO is not wise to eschew internet service because it has so many business travelers. Whenever you read those posts about CO flight loading with 70 or more elites, who do you think those people are? They're certainly not leisure travelers, but all business travelers, many of whom would be likely to use pay internet service.
I'm on the fence. I agree with you, those travelers would probably be more inclined to pay for internet access. But only some routes/days/times are particularly business-oriented and elite-heavy. On the remainder of the flights, can CO get enough passengers to pay for service to make it worthwhile? Will people pay for internet access on shorter flights?

This was a hot topic at the DO, and I now better appreciate CO's position to watch what happens with other carriers. Do I want internet access? Absolutely! But when I go through TSA and see that many passengers aren't even carrying a laptop... well, that's not a good sign for internet demand and sustainability.
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Old May 26, 09, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by adastra View Post
I'm on the fence. I agree with you, those travelers would probably be more inclined to pay for internet access. But only some routes/days/times are particularly business-oriented and elite-heavy. On the remainder of the flights, can CO get enough passengers to pay for service to make it worthwhile? Will people pay for internet access on shorter flights?

This was a hot topic at the DO, and I now better appreciate CO's position to watch what happens with other carriers. Do I want internet access? Absolutely! But when I go through TSA and see that many passengers aren't even carrying a laptop... well, that's not a good sign for internet demand and sustainability.
The system weighs 300 lbs total and costs $100,000 to install.

At $12.95 a pop (the cost on DL and AA) that can be recouped pretty darn quickly...
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Old May 26, 09, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
The system weighs 300 lbs total and costs $100,000 to install.

At $12.95 a pop (the cost on DL and AA) that can be recouped pretty darn quickly...
Perhaps - but I assume the Smith Street number crunchers would see it as a more complicated model than 100,000/13. There's got to be additional overhead, maintenance, contracts, etc. above and beyond that $100,000. And if service is free for F passengers, how significant is that impact as well?

The technology is new, and will be tested on other carriers - at this point, even if they started installing tomorrow, we know it would take months. Given the continuous improvements and new offerings in the tech sector, I'd rather a little wait to see what is working and make strategic decisions. CO has plenty to offer without internet access, and I wonder if this lack will really impact their passenger-base as they watch?
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Old May 26, 09, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by adastra View Post
Perhaps - but I assume the Smith Street number crunchers would see it as a more complicated model than 100,000/13. There's got to be additional overhead, maintenance, contracts, etc. above and beyond that $100,000. And if service is free for F passengers, how significant is that impact as well?

The technology is new, and will be tested on other carriers - at this point, even if they started installing tomorrow, we know it would take months. Given the continuous improvements and new offerings in the tech sector, I'd rather a little wait to see what is working and make strategic decisions. CO has plenty to offer without internet access, and I wonder if this lack will really impact their passenger-base as they watch?
No question that there would be additional costs.

Still, carriers such as AA and VX are reporting usages as high as 25% for their internet service and an average of 12% over the entire network.

Internet is an example of a premium service far more likely to generate revenue with business travelers than LiveTV. Of course, in the case of LiveTV, jetBlue bore the brunt of the cost, so Larry Kellner must have decided this was a low-risk strategy.

Soon, the only U.S. carriers without internet will be UA, US, and CO, and I don't think CO should be in the bottom of the barrel, especially not since it is a carrier that has fortress hubs in business cities (IAH, EWR, CLE) and which caters heavily to business travelers, who would likely be heavy users of the service.
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Old May 26, 09, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
The system weighs 300 lbs total and costs $100,000 to install.

At $12.95 a pop (the cost on DL and AA) that can be recouped pretty darn quickly...
Sure, and there is no need to consider long-term operational costs or anything else, right? On the Aircell/gogo front my understanding is that a significant portion of the capital investment is coming from Aircell, not just from the carriers. The costs for Aircell to maintain and operate the system are reasonably high so they need a pretty decent subscriber stream to stay in business. It is the same "problem" that Connexion had. The initial HW install on the planes isn't so bad but the other costs are significant.

Also, it is only $12.95 for flights over 3 hours. It is $9.95 for shorter flights and $7.95 for PDA/iPhone access rather than a laptop. There are rumors of daily passes (for connecting flights) and monthly passes coming along soon.
Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
U.S. carriers with internet service are currently AA, DL, and VX. WN is currently testing an internet solution. B6 has one internet-equipped plane.
B6 has zero internet-equipped planes. They have one with a version of the Kiteline product that is a horribly limited selection of specific sites that they want to expose. FL is going to be fully gogo-equipped by the end of the summer. AA has only the domestic 767s now but they are adding more planes to the deployment shortly. DL is done with the MD88s and almost done with the MD90s; not sure what is next for them. And United has announced plans to pilot gogo on some planes so that is coming soon. Ditto for AC, though it will only operate within range of the US border and on trans-border flights for now.
Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
The biggest problem for CO is probably the lack of seat pitch, the fact that, for many people, the economy section on CO is so cramped that it is very hard to comfortably use a laptop.
I guess that just depends on the size of the person and the laptop. I can use mine just fine.

And, to the OP, CO is looking at it but it isn't happening anytime soon based on the comments they've made. There will likely be kiteline (for free) eventually, but not until late 2009 at the earliest and that depends a lot on LiveTV making it functional.
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Old May 26, 09, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Sure, and there is no need to consider long-term operational costs or anything else, right? On the Aircell/gogo front my understanding is that a significant portion of the capital investment is coming from Aircell, not just from the carriers.
All the more reason for CO to pull the trigger, because there would be so little risk for CO to assume.

As you write, virtually every carrier in North America will shortly have this technology and the idea that CO would be at the absolute bottom of the barrel in this category ought to be horrifying to the brass at Smith Street.

Plus, as I wrote earlier, CO is a most definitely a business traveler's airline, so that there is a very strong likelihood of high rates of usage for this service.

Why CO would agree to let jetBlue install LiveTV at little or no cost to CO, but not Aircell/Gogo to install internet at little or no cost to CO is beyond me, especially when you consider that the internet system is far lighter than the TV system, which involves installing 150+- screens in each a/c.
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Old May 26, 09, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
All the more reason for CO to pull the trigger, because there would be so little risk for CO to assume.

As you write, virtually every carrier in North America will shortly have this technology and the idea that CO would be at the absolute bottom of the barrel in this category ought to be horrifying to the brass at Smith Street.

Plus, as I wrote earlier, CO is a most definitely a business traveler's airline, so that there is a very strong likelihood of high rates of usage for this service.

Why CO would agree to let jetBlue install LiveTV at little or no cost to CO, but not Aircell/Gogo to install internet at little or no cost to CO is beyond me, especially when you consider that the internet system is far lighter than the TV system, which involves installing 150+- screens in each a/c.
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