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Next in-flight essential – hi-speed Wi-Fi, hopefully free

April 17, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Rival systems offering in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers are competing in the market and airlines are working out which to choose. The outlay is massive – hundreds of millions of dollars for an airline – but once one carrier gets it, passengers will demand the same from others.

Internet speeds for satellite-based Wi-Fi speeds are improving and now equal those on the ground, according to a report by Airwise.com

Ironically, the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has added to the impetus, as the aircraft would have been better tracked if it had possessed a satellite-based system capable of streaming cockpit data. Such systems are already available and some airlines use them.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has allowed passengers to use smartphones and similar electronic gear since last November.

The FAA’s move is expected to lead to wider use of devices, and bandwidth, on planes worldwide.

According to the Airwise.com report, about 40% of US airliners already have some form of Wi-Fi.

As with hotels, airlines that charge for internet will be at a significant disadvantage to those that provide it free.

Written by : William Sykes

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