updated 06:00 pm EDT, Thu October 8, 2009
United Wi-Fi starts with 13 planes
United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. The rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United's fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Much as with similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell's Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.
All the proposed flights so far will be long-haul trips and so will use the higher end of Gogo's existing pricing plans. Those with notebooks or netbooks will pay $13 for access during the entire flight, while owners of iPhones and other handhelds pay $8 for the same period. Voice over IP remains off-limits as a consideration for other passengers.
Echoing the strategies of Delta and US Airways, United so far is using the service in trial form and will wait for feedback before it decides to bring Wi-Fi to all of its flights. [via Chicago Tribune]