Close on the heels of gaining the approval from the FCC, United Airlines has become the first airline to offer the Wi-Fi connectivity to the passengers on the transcontinental international flights. It shall be noted that it was only recently that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) allowed the Wi-Fi connectivity on the planes, though with some conditions and limitations, after taking a due account of the safety and security considerations of using this facility in the flight.
The airline would be offering this facility on its flights across the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans on its Boeing 747-400 airplanes. This internet facility will be satellite-based and makes use of Ku band technology from the Panasonic Avionics Corporation. Besides installing the facility on the international routes, United has also installed this satellite-based Wi-Fi connectivity on two of its domestic planes Airbus 319s. The price of the Wi-Fi connection has been based on the per flight basis, with minimum being $3.99 and up to $19.99, depending on length of flight and the speed of the connection.
The move is expected to benefit a large number of passengers who prefer to work or to stay connected with their near and dear ones while in flight. This would be yet another additional service which they can use for keeping themselves busy during the flight besides providing the usual modes of entertainment. There is a section of passengers which feels that this facility on the long-haul routes is likely to cause more noises and deprive the passengers of the rest and sleep which they could have got when this facility was not provided.