Exclusive: United is testing Row 44 in-flight Internet!


Holy crap! United Airlines is testing Row 44′s in-flight Internet service, making it the first carrier to trial both a satellite-based service (from Row 44) and Aircell’s air-to-ground (ATG) service Gogo.

A source tells RWG says United has fitted a Boeing 757 with Row 44 “on a trial basis” and, so far, “it’s going pretty well”.

“Access is free after taking a survey and as such usage is very good,” adds the source.

A total 13 United aircraft are already fitted with Gogo.

Southwest Airlines will be able to conduct a similar experiment soon, as the carrier – which is on track to equip 60 aircraft with Row 44 by year-end – is acquiring Gogo customer AirTran Airways.

But this news about United is, well, very interesting to say the least!

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8 Responses to Exclusive: United is testing Row 44 in-flight Internet!

  1. Kris Ziel December 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    What is the tail on the 757?
    And I would love it if they would equip their international fleet with internet, even if it is just for United First and Business

  2. Mary Kirby December 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    I’m hearing 594, but have not had this confirmed yet.

  3. Mary Kirby December 13, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Now hearing 593. If you see a pic with the blister, let me know (please)!

  4. RobH December 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Holy WHAT? Grandma, mommy’s using her bowling words again! :)

    Happy Kwanzaa, Mary.

  5. Dave December 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    What about TV and intravenously fed alcohol? What is the status of those innovations? You know how I can’t stand air travel without obscene amounts of booze…

    On a side note, I wonder how much does the drag penalty imposed by the avionics blister for the IFE impact fuel economy and range? Is the trade-off worth it to the accountants at the majors?

  6. Dan December 14, 2010 at 12:18 am #

    Mary-

    This is indeed N593UA. This is notable as this is UA’s ‘test’ 757 which has slimline leather seats in coach equipped with 110V power outlets. I still haven’t flown on it, so the verdict isn’t in on the new seats, but who can argue with 110V power in coach?!

    -Dan

  7. Willis December 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Hmm, not so sure this is the most encouraging news. Southwest’s internet is not widely regarded from what I understand. I tried it out on one of their cattle call flights over the holiday weekend and the connection varied from real slow to dropped. It reminded me a lot of my first internet connection 15 years ago.

    I’m not dumb, I obviously understand that having Internet at all on a flight is a major breakthrough in air travel, but since most of us on the ground are used to fast, stable connections we’re not willing to “go back in time” to when the best we could hope for was dial-up speeds.

    And I think most people are not going to be so forgiving of that since we get good connections through our smart phones. Most people won’t understand that the technologies are different and just assume that they’re the same. They’ll get frustrated at the slow connection and blame the airline for having poor service. After all, if they can get mobile connection on the ground, why couldn’t they get it in the air? You just can’t expect the average guy to understand the difference. Their perception is all that matters.

  8. Tomas December 16, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    That is a very valid point, Willis, and one that Southwest and United should consider carefully, i.e. consumer perception. I agree that people are used to certain speeds of internet connection, but disagree that they won’t understand that they’ll get slower speeds in the air — so long as they are within reason. However, the issue of dropped connections won’t go over well, and that to me is the key that will drive consumer perception down. And they won’t care who the provider is, they’ll blame the airline. To me this goes beyond a cost factor, it’s a reliability issue. You want the service you’re providing to work flawlessly, and if reports are true about Southwest’s internet service, it doesn’t. Either more development time is needed, or they should shop around for a different provider.