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UA Free WiFi Starting sometime in 2020???

UA Free WiFi Starting sometime in 2020???

Old Jul 27, 19, 12:05 pm
  #1  
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UA Free WiFi Starting sometime in 2020???

I had a good talk with a FA on last nights flight home. The PDE went out for a few minutes so I got up to stretch my legs and she asked me how I was doing. I told here the PDE was down, so she reset the network & everything was fine for the rest of the flight. While we were waiting, she volunteered that it should be getting much better in 2020, as UA was going to upgrade their equipment & offer free wifi fleetwide. I am assuming it would be for domestic and did ask about international flights, or if all UAX planes would also be included.

I asked her specifically how she got the word, & she said they had received a company wide email from management about the planned changes. So it seems the source is a little more credible than the "rumor mill". She stated that UA knows how bad their WiFi is & that the contract with the current equipment provider is running out this year. They will be upgrading/replacing the hardware in all their planes starting sometime in 2020.

I am looking forward to a future announcement with more details. Also curious how they will deal with those of us that paid for subscriptions (as I just renewed my global wifi subscription last month).
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:09 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr View Post
While we were waiting, she volunteered that it should be getting much better in 2020, as UA was going to upgrade their equipment & offer free wifi fleetwide.
I would take that message with a boulder of salt.

Yes, they're working on upgrading their equipment (although I suspect it will take longer than 2020 to complete the work).

Free wi-fi fleetwide would (a) not be in keeping with the Scott Kirby playbook, and (b) make the wifi unusable again anyway.

ETA: Thanks, WineCountryUA. The cynic in me assumes that the launch of free WiFi will coincide with a $25 fare increase but I will retract my statement anyway.

Last edited by jsloan; Jul 27, 19 at 12:21 pm
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I would take that message with a boulder of salt.

Yes, they're working on upgrading their equipment (although I suspect it will take longer than 2020 to complete the work).

Free wi-fi fleetwide would (a) not be in keeping with the Scott Kirby playbook, and (b) make the wifi unusable again anyway.
True. It will be free to everyone, but with everyone on it it will become unusable by anyone. Oh wait - this sounds like a classic "enhancement we will like."
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:18 pm
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Multiple reports of this, just not a real time lime

Kirbly mentioned the free wifi plan in Second Quater results in conference call
United Airlines Reports Second-Quarter 2019 Performance & Earnings Call 17 July 2019
WiFi is another product that's incredibly important to our customers. And while we're still making improvements, we've rolled out significant new software and hardware overhauls on 2 of our platforms this year. And in addition to other improvements, the staffs are telling the story of a vastly improving product. We've seen a 20% improvement in customer satisfaction for WiFi, and our compensation refund rates are down around 2/3 because the system is just more reliable. For the past year or so, we've been working towards a goal to get the system to a high enough level of reliability and bandwidth that we can make WiFi free for our customers. We're excited at the progress we're making towards that goal.
He has also mentioned this as the end goal in previous interviews

United hopes to make Wi-Fi free, faster
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:26 pm
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Ugh, I hope this comes with an announcement to make sure phones are set to silent. The thought of the constant pinging of iMessages etc makes me cringe. (its bad enough having to listen to that in the lounge).
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Multiple reports of this, just not a real time lime

Kirbly mentioned the free wifi plan in Second Quater results in conference call
United Airlines Reports Second-Quarter 2019 Performance & Earnings Call 17 July 2019

He has also mentioned this as the end goal in previous interviews

United hopes to make Wi-Fi free, faster

Thanks for the other links WC, I was just relaying my first hand account from a front line employee.

On a side note, my wifi experience has been vastly better this year than last. I had over $500 in ETC's in 2018 for internet/PDE problems. Last night was the first time the internet was down for an entire flight in 2019. It took over 70 segments for my first outage/ETC. Maybe just luck, but I think UA is doing much better in the wifi department this year.
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr View Post
...
On a side note, my wifi experience has been vastly better this year than last.
... Maybe just luck, but I think UA is doing much better in the wifi department this year.
That has been my experience also. Not prefect but better.
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:38 pm
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Free wifi internet is the plan. Both Scott and Oscar have mentioned it multiple times. Both acknowledged that the reliability and bandwidth must be improved first. I haven't seen any timeline mentioned yet.
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The cynic in me assumes that the launch of free WiFi will coincide with a $25 fare increase but I will retract my statement anyway.
How does the cynic in you make that work with the claims that most people always book the cheapest flight, and thus a fare increase by $25 would not actually work in practice?
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Old Jul 27, 19, 12:58 pm
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The cynic in me sez WiFi (beyond on-board entertainment) will still be unavailable on most planes between Hawaii and west coast, where I spend at least half my flight hours.
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Old Jul 27, 19, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
How does the cynic in you make that work with the claims that most people always book the cheapest flight, and thus a fare increase by $25 would not actually work in practice?
It doesn't. I'm entirely at a loss to explain this move. (And, yes, I was being facetious; an across-the-board $25 fare increase would prove disastrous).
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Old Jul 27, 19, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
... I'm entirely at a loss to explain this move. ....
At least two possible explanations

UA is sensing their competitors will do this???

And when things don't work, UA is less of a required position to compensation.

Lots of hints the compensation issues is killing the paid business.
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Old Jul 27, 19, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post

At least two possible explanations

UA is sensing their competitors will do this???
(bolding added)

Or just reading Delta's news site?

https://news.delta.com/delta-takes-f...l-limited-test

Customers on around 55 domestic flight segments a day will have an opportunity to surf the internet free of charge, starting May 13. The two-week pilot across all cabins on select short-, medium- and long-haul routes is Delta's first step toward realizing its vision of offering free in-flight Wi-Fi as part its leading suite of complimentary onboard entertainment options.

"Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too," said Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Onboard Product. "Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right this takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch."
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Old Jul 27, 19, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
... Or just reading Delta's news site? ...
Both AA & DL are making noise (but no system-wide announcements yet). I would now also put UA in that category. WN is offering free wifi to some.

Pretty clear trend.
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Old Jul 27, 19, 1:54 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
At least two possible explanations
option 3, jacking everyone's ticket price up by $15 for "free" Wifi is more profitable than selling Wifi
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