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JetBlue says if feedback is good on free in-flight Internet service it will roll the service out to whole fleet

Any technophile that travels by air for long flights has wished web access was available for work and play. Slowly airlines are beginning to come around to the notion of providing wireless Internet service on commercial flights.

In June of 2006, DailyTech reported that JetBlue and AirCell both won bidding for wireless frequency to provide in-flight Internet services. Later the same month DailyTech reported that Boeing was looking to sell or close its in-flight Internet service.

In July of this year, Qantas announced it would offer in-flight Internet service to its passengers flying on its Airbus A380 aircraft. The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that budget airline JetBlue is set to begin testing free in-flight WiFi service for passengers on one of its specially equipped Airbus A320 aircraft. The special A320 is set to take flight on Tuesday and JetBlue says it has been working for months with Yahoo Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd on the service.

JetBlue says that the test aircraft, dubbed "BetaBlue", will offer free WiFi access to laptops and certain Blackberry smartphones. In the beginning, only the newer Blackberry 8820 and 8320 Curve devices will work with the service. The in-flight service will provide Internet access, chat access, and email access in-flight. JetBlue says if feedback from passengers on “BetaBlue” is positive it will roll the free WiFi service out to other planes in its fleet.

Nate Quigley, chief executive of JetBlue’s LiveTV unit told the Wall Street Journal, “[WiFi service] can support everybody on the aircraft” when asked if the service would be able to support large numbers of users concurrently.

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By RyanM on 12/7/2007 2:01:28 PM , Rating: 3
How do they plan on providing access only to "certain Blackberry" phones? What's to stop someone with an iPhone from hopping on? Where do eeePC's fit into this?

The only method I could imagine working is some kind of MAC address filtering that blocks whole chunks of addresses based on which OEMs end up with the chips.

RE: hrm...
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2007 2:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
Likely anything that supports wifi will work. I think they meant more along the lines that the vast majority of phones don't. I don't know though. Maybe they're blocking certain kinds of devices somehow.

RE: hrm...
By othercents on 12/7/2007 4:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
will offer free WiFi access to laptops and certain Blackberry smartphones

That will include the eee PC and probably any device with WiFi. However Blackberry devices, other than the two phones mentioned, that want to connect to the blackberry service will be unable too. Probably because of the software difference in the phones.

The free service has to be paid somewhere which is where most free WiFi fails. It is an added convenience to the people flying, but might not justify the service cost. I wouldn't mind WiFi access when I'm on those 3+ hour flights, but otherwise I doubt I would even pack a computer for anything shorter.


Amtrak going WiFi also
By marco916 on 12/7/2007 4:35:54 PM , Rating: 2
Does anybody know if Amtrak will be using the same technology as JetBlue. I wonder if the FBI will looking at the data packets on flights and monitoring what been communicated.

RE: Amtrak going WiFi also
By marco916 on 12/7/2007 4:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
sorry for poor grammar

RE: Amtrak going WiFi also
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2007 5:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the FBI will looking at the data packets on flights and monitoring what been communicated.


Jet Blue is great
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2007 2:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately Charleston doesn't have any flights with them available. But when I lived in Orlando I always tried to fly them. They were always as cheap as Delta and you got your own LCD screen, a nicer than Delta seat, and any time they were late, they always gave you a voucher (at least the 3 times we were delayed). Unlike Delta who basically gives you the finger if their flight is running behind schedule.

Jet Blue please come to Charleston!

Flying JetBlue on Tuesday
By JohnnyCNote on 12/7/2007 3:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
However, I don't have anything to use if they have it on my flight. My notebook computer's battery is dead, so I'll see if anyone around me is using one and I'll let youse know how well (or not) it's working . . .

Wifi on Planes
By mmntech on 12/7/2007 4:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
When I first saw this article, I immediately thought of this one that was posted a couple months ago.
Using Wifi has been banned on planes in Japan. Jetblue doesn't fly to Japan so it's no issue, but there must be some reason why it was banned.

By phorensic on 12/10/2007 6:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would hate to be the "IT" person on board that has to deal with all the stupid "the internet isn't working!" complaints.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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