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United Launches Satellite-Based Wi-Fi Service

United Launches Satellite-Based Wi-Fi Service

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Old Oct 20, 15, 5:34 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
Last edit by: gengar
Wiki Link
Wifi Completion Status (Last Updated: 1/16/2015)
United Wi-Fi installation

Mainland USA
  • B737 - 187/253 Complete (74%)
  • B757 - 26/133 Complete (20%)

Worldwide Coverage
  • A319 - 55/55 Complete (100%)
  • A320 - 97/97 Complete (100%)
  • B747 - 24/24 Complete (100%)
  • B767 - 2/51 Complete (4%)
  • B777 - 42/74 Complete (57%)
  • B787 - 3/14 Complete (21%)

Worldwide Coverage Area
Satellite coverage may experience outages for reasons such as government regulations, weather and switching between satellite regions.

Gogo (PS Flights) Coverage Area

Pricing Data Points
City Pair / ~ Duration / Standard Cost / Premium Cost / Comments on Quality
747-400 (Panasonic):
  • SFO-FRA / 10 hrs / ?? / $22.99 / (5/2013) Peak speed was 6.5Mbps down, 2Mbps up. 700ms latency. awesome. (unavaca)
  • HNL-NRT / 8 hrs / $14.99 / $22.99 / The service worked all the way across the pacific, I was surprised at how reliable it was. The speediest I did topped out at .26mb, hardly "premium", but if you're ok with general web browsing and chatting with iMessage, it worked like a champ.
  • LAX-SYD / 14 hrs / $16.99 / No premium options. (Col Ronson) 3Mbps download speed test, worked for 95% of flight
  • SFO-HKG / 15 hrs / $16.99 / No premium option / (1/2014) (unavaca) speedtest immediately after wi-fi was available gave 700ms, 7Mbit down, 0.5Mbit up
  • BKK-NRT / 5 hr / $16.99 / No premium option / (SS255)
  • PEK-SFO / 11 hr / $16.99 / No premium option / Net access kept going down over the Pacific / Ookla speedtest 3.09 Mbps down, 0.23 Mbps up, 894ms RTT.

A319/A320 (Panasonic):
  • EWR-SFO / 6 hrs / $12.99 / $19.99 (IIRC)
  • EWR-SFO / 6 hrs / $14.99 / no premium option (3/2014) (greg99) speedtest 2498kbps d/l and an awesome 95kbps u/l (not a typo) 578ms latency
  • SFO-PHL / ~5.5 hrs / $14.99 / no premium option (4/2014) (qisu) didn't do speed test. good part of the flight had slow speed or no connection at all.
  • PHL-SFO / 6 hrs / $12.99 / no premium option (4/2014) (qisu) speedtest 2-3megabits down.
  • PHL-IAH / 4 hrs / $9.99 / $12.99 (IIRC, standard may have been $7.99?)
  • PHL-IAH / 3 hrs / $6.99 / no premium option [10/2013]
  • ORD-LAS / 3.5 hrs / $7.99 / No premium option. (lenscap)
  • ORD-SEA / 4 hrs / $9.99 / No premium option. (qisu)
  • ORD-LAX / 4 hrs / $8.99 / No premium option / speedtest peak 3mbps, average 600kbps to 1.5mbps
  • ORD-YVR / 4 hrs / $8.99 / No premium option / speedtest 3.86 Mbps to 10.70 Mbps down / 0.18 to 0.37 Mbps up - very reliable throughout the flight
  • IAD-LAX / 5 hrs / $12.99 / No premium option / speedtest peak 1.5mbps, average 400kbps to 800kbps, worked for 80% of flight but pretty spotty at times, but at least FA announced signal was poor
  • IAD-SEA / 5 hrs / $12.99 / No premium option / A319
  • SFO-LAX / 1 hr / $3.99 / No premium option / A319 (greg99)
  • SFO-ORD / 4 hr / $9.99 / No premium option / A320 / Pretty reliable, up most of the flight
  • IAH-SEA / 4.5 hrs / $8.99 / no premium option A320 (6/2014) (qisu) speedtest 5megabits down, 0.2 megabits up.

City Pair / ~ Duration / Standard or Limited Access Cost / Premium or Full Access Cost / Comments on Quality
737s (Thales LiveTV): [prices are per-hour]
  • IAH-TPA / ?? / $1 / $2 / (2/2014) (ssullivan) 23-25Mbps downstream (Premium/full access service). No service over Gulf of Mexico.
  • MIA-EWR / 2 hr / $1 / $2 / (3/2014) (hirohito888) 16Mbps down, 1Mbps up [not sure if this is for the regular or full access]
  • PDX-IAH / 4 hr / $1 / $2 / (4/2014) (qisu) regular was very slow, speed test about 100kilobits down.
  • SEA-IAH / 4 hr / $1 / $2 / (5/2014) (edcho) full access was speedy. 22 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up. Ping was 700ms.
  • SEA-IAH / 4 hr / $1 / $2 / (6/2014) (qisu) full access, 5-15 Mbps down, 0.2 Mbps up.
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Old Jan 15, 13, 10:08 am
Company Representative, United Airlines
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Chicago, Houston, or somewhere in between
Posts: 2,176
United Launches Satellite-Based Wi-Fi Service

Hi Everyone, we are getting ready to issue the following release regarding our new onboard Wi-Fi service and wanted to give you a first look. There’s more great progress to come.

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines



CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2013 – United Airlines has introduced onboard satellite-based Wi-Fi internet connectivity on the first of its international widebody aircraft, becoming the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer customers the ability to stay connected while traveling on long-haul overseas routes.

The aircraft, a Boeing 747 outfitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Ku-band satellite technology, serves trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.

Additionally, United has outfitted Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on two Airbus 319 aircraft serving domestic routes, offering customers faster inflight Internet service than air-to-ground technology (ATG). The company expects to complete installation of satellite-based WiFi on 300 mainline aircraft by the end of this year.

“Satellite-based Wi-Fi service enables us to better serve our customers and offer them more of what they want in a global airline,” said Jim Compton, vice chairman and chief revenue officer at United. “With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly.”

Customers have the choice of two speeds: Standard, priced initially between $3.99 and $14.99 depending on the duration of flight, and Accelerated, priced initially between $5.99 and $19.99 and offering faster download speeds than Standard.

United will install satellite-based Wi-Fi on Airbus 319 and 320 aircraft, and on Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Customers will be able to use their wireless devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets onboard those aircraft to connect with internet service using the in-flight hotspot.

United is upgrading its fleet with more than $550 million in additional onboard improvements, including:

  • Offering the world’s largest fleet of aircraft with flat-bed seats, with more than 175 aircraft with 180-degree flat beds in premium cabins once the airline completes the installation in the second quarter.
  • Expanding extra-legroom Economy Plus seating to provide the most such seating of any U.S. carrier.
  • Revamping the transcontinental “p.s.” fleet of airplanes that fly between New York Kennedy and Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering an improved premium cabin with fully flat beds, Wi-Fi Internet service, and personal on-demand entertainment at every seat.
  • Improving inflight entertainment options with streaming video content on the Boeing 747-400 fleet.
  • Retrofitting overhead bins on 152 Airbus aircraft, allowing for significantly greater storage of carry-on baggage.

About United
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,557 flights a day to 378 airports on six continents from the airline’s hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. United is upgrading its cabins with more flat-bed seats in first and business class and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any other airline in North America. United now has 180 airplanes featuring DIRECTV®, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has orders for more than 270 new aircraft deliveries through 2022. In 2012, United was the first North American airline to take delivery of new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. United was rated the world’s most admired airline on FORTUNE magazine’s 2012 airline-industry list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United’s MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
UA Insider is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:10 am
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: HNL
Programs: United 1K®
Posts: 1,574
Awesome! ^
love_to_travel is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:11 am
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Just outside Big D, or many other places in big metal tubes
Programs: WN Rpd.Rwrds, AA, was longtime CO very top Elite tier, Overentitled UA Lifetime 1K (since 2012)
Posts: 1,333
^^Great news!!!
mkr is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:15 am
Join Date: Dec 2009
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boss315 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:19 am
In Memoriam
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Very cool.

cordelli is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:24 am
Moderator: Smoking Lounge; FlyerTalk Evangelist
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Posts: 28,733
So my questions are:

Do those in premium cabins get it for free? Yeah I know that the word "free" is not to be spoken publicly in the new world order but I'd still like to know?
Will top tier elites get it for free (see above comments about "free") or at a discount?

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jan 15, 13 at 10:48 am Reason: unnecessary
goalie is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:29 am
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Posts: 5,819
Originally Posted by goalie View Post
So my questions are:

Do those in premium cabins get it for free? Yeah I know that the word "free" is not to be spoken publicly in the new world order but I'd still like to know?
Will top tier elites get it for free (see above comments about "free") or at a discount?
SQ has equipped some of their 777s with Wi-Fi. There is a charge to use the Internet *even if you are a paying First passenger*. A bit tacky but great from an unbundling perspective!

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jan 15, 13 at 10:48 am Reason: off-topic/quote
mherdeg is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:31 am
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: Too many
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Posts: 5,751
Hoping deployment will go a bit quicker than fleet-wide in-seat power promised by United in, you know, 1998. 15 years later, still waiting.
Axey is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:31 am
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Good stuff..
It would be excellent if United could integrate into its system the ability to tell if flights are enabled with this technology. Knowledge before a flight would change my preparation and would actually make me a much more likely purchaser.
cyclogenesis is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:32 am
Join Date: Apr 2011
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No love for the regional jets on those >1000 mile routes?
milesmuncher is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:35 am
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Really great news!!!
sammyindc is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:38 am
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United Launches Satellite-Based Wi-Fi Service

Is the system on the one 747 also doing the wireless streaming of content?

Is the 747 streaming (not Internet connectivity but streaming content) going to have a charge or will it be free?
uastarflyer is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:39 am
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: DEN
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United Launches Satellite-Based Wi-Fi Service

Fantastic news. Any word on the actual data speeds for standard and upgraded service?
pauljacobson958 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:43 am
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Will there be monthly plans? (although probably doesn't make much sense with 3 aircraft right now...)
JAaronT is offline  
Old Jan 15, 13, 10:45 am
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Awesome. Time to buy that WiFi to WiFi router and resell UA's offering to other FT'ers at a cut rate
SFO_Runner is offline  

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