JetBlue has announced that all its flights within the continental United States now offer free satellite Wi-Fi for passengers to enjoy.
Named Fly-Fi, JetBlue claims that the service offers broadband speeds, which will allow customers to remain connected to the internet while on their flight with an experience similar to the data speeds they have at home.
JetBlue: First Airline To Offer Free Internet On All Local Flights
JetBlue first introduced Fly-Fi in one aircraft in December 2013. After just over three years, the airline has finally completed the installation of the service to its entire fleet, with Fly-Fi now joining other popular JetBlue perks such as free DirecTV in all seats, unlimited snacks, and what the company claims is the most legroom in coach. JetBlue passengers are also able to stream in-flight TV and movies through Amazon Prime and Amazon Music.
Through Fly-Fi, the airline claims that it is the first in the United States to offer internet connectivity on all aircrafts from the departure gate to the arrival gate, eliminating the wait for the aircraft to reach cruising altitude before passengers are able to go online.
"It's 2017 and our customers expect to be connected everywhere, whether that be from the comfort of their sofa or 35,000 feet above it," said JetBlue VP of marketing Jamie Perry.
Other airlines offer similar in-flight internet services, but none are both free and available on all aircraft. In comparison, American Airlines offers passengers a Wi-Fi internet service on almost all local flights, but a daily or monthly pass is required to be purchased, with daily passes coming with a $16 price tag. Delta charges the same amount for a daily pass on its Wi-Fi service, while Southwest offers a similar service but at half the price of $8 daily.
JetBlue Fly-Fi: Was The Wait Worth It?
In October 2015, JetBlue promised that all its aircraft will offer in-flight Wi-Fi with speeds of 20 Mbps per device at a height of 35,000 feet by the fall of 2016.
JetBlue failed to meet that promise, as the rollout of Fly-Fi to all its aircraft was delayed by a few months. However, the wait for the expansion of Fly-Fi to all JetBlue flights seems to be worth it, as not only is the satellite internet technology of the airline faster than all other air-to-ground competitors, it is also completely free.
Gogo, the market leader for in-flight internet services, uses the slow air-to-ground connections. It only offers 10 Mbps of bandwidth that will be shared by all the passengers of an aircraft, making it prone to slowdowns once many users connect to the network all at once. JetBlue's Fly-Fi service is a much better option for passengers who would like to stay connected while in flight.
The advantages of satellite internet services over the air-to-ground connections offered by Gogo are now being noticed by other airlines, such as in June 2016 when American Airlines decided to equip 100 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with ViaSat's services over that of Gogo's.
JetBlue's own Fly-Fi service, however, has the markings of technology that can change the industry, as it could pressure other airlines to roll out satellite Wi-Fi networks to all their aircraft.