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Wendy is an IFE Agent responsible for aggregating airline news specifically related to Inflight entertainment. She compiles stories relevant to business travelers, airline industry folks, marketers and tech geeks. IFE News doesn't create original content, but rather posts compelling editorial from global media outlets.

Surf at 35,000 Feet All the Way to Japan Thanks to JAL and ANA

Not too long ago in-flight WiFi was limited to a few airlines, on a few routes, and only in a few countries. Sure, things were going well at 35,000′ at home in the nifty fifty, but when it was time to take one of those long-haul flights the wireless options were few and far between. It seems like the airlines have really picked up the pace over the last 12 months or so, and now it looks like Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are the latest carriers to invest a little cash in connectivity.

Up first is Japan Airlines, as they’ve already figured out plenty of the details—including pricing. The first planes to receive the JAL Sky system will be some of their Boeing 777-300ERs, and, if all goes according to plan, passengers flying between Tokyo-Narita and New York-JFK will be surfing the ‘net at as soon as July 15.

Initially the service will be spotty thanks to installation delays, but it should be a daily option as quickly as August. All the behind the scenes stuff is done thanks to Panasonic eXConnect, and it will set you back around $11 for an hour and just about $20 for 24 hours—not too bad!

Japan Airlines promises similar speeds to what can be found back on the ground, so it sounds like all your YouTube browsing won’t suffer from endless buffering and choppy delays. After they work the kinks out on the initial routes they’ll be expanding availability, as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Jakarta might be on board as quickly as October of this year. After that the installation team hopes to get Frankfurt, Paris, and London up and going by the first quarter or so of 2013.

All Nippon Airways hasn’t figured out all of their pricing and plans just yet, but they’re still confident enough to announce some of their details. ANA is shooting for a target launch of July 2013, so there is still plenty of time for stuff to go wrong or for specific details to change. It sounds like their choice to utilize OnAir for the technology—rather than Panasonic—might sacrifice some speeds, but the OnAir equipment is supposed to be a little bit lighter. They’re thinking that passengers won’t suck up that much bandwidth screwing around with email and Facebook—too bad we might have to disagree.

Sure, there might be a couple different flavors of WiFi from which to choose, but when it comes to connecting on long haul international flights—we really can’t complain!

 

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