United Airlines is equipping over 200 regional aircraft with Wi-Fi, free streaming media and what it's calling "personal device entertainment," starting at the end of this year and completing the roll out next summer.
The Internet services will be rolled out on United Airlines' Embraer E170, Embraer E175 and Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft. The collection of regional aircraft are a part of United Airlines' United Express fleet.
"United is pleased to extend our growing Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment platform to our fleet of larger regional jets," says Jeff Foland, United's executive vice president of marketing, technology and strategy. "These new elements will enhance the entire in-flight experience for our customers."
United Airlines' latest Wi-Fi initiative will also provide its passengers with streaming media services, which a company spokesperson says will be free. There is still no word on how much the Wi-Fi service will cost United Airlines' passengers.
"Early next year, United expects to expand personal device entertainment to these aircraft, enabling customers to select from a wide range of movies and television shows to view on their Wi-Fi-enabled iOS and Android devices using United's mobile app, as well as on laptop computers."
The Wi-FI initiative entails partnering with aerospace connectivity group Gogo, which will offer its advanced air-to-ground Wi-Fi services to the United Express aircraft.
The completion of the Wi-Fi project will bring United Airlines' count of Wi-Fi-connected aircraft up to 340. The airline says it hopes to equip its entire mainline fleet of domestic aircraft with Wi-Fi service by the middle of 2015.
United Airlines' deal with Gogo bolsters the sizzling portfolio of the aerospace connectivity company. In September, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was closing on a deal with Gogo that would bring 70-Mbps bandwidth to its flights via satellites.
Back then, Gogo said it had been providing its Internet services to approximately 2,000 commercial and 6,000 business aircraft. The deal with Virgin Atlantic helped hide the "seams" for customers who frequently travel on that airline as well as Delta.
"Virgin Atlantic is on the cutting edge when it comes to delivering technology solutions to their passengers and we're extremely excited to deliver the best connectivity solutions to keep their passengers connected anywhere they fly around the world," said Michael Small, CEO and president of Gogo. "Virgin Atlantic's relationship with Delta Air Lines will also allow us to build a seamless experience for passengers who fly both airlines."