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Web surf's up at Jet Blue: speedy Wi-Fi connection coming soon

September 18, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Jet Blue said it will take 1 minute and 8 seconds on average for a passenger using its new Wi-Fi service to open 10 websites using a signal provided by its Ka-Band satellite. On a Ku-Band satellite it would take more than eight minutes to open the same 10 websites.
Jet Blue said it will take 1 minute and 8 seconds on average for a passenger… (Toby Talbot / Associated…)

Virgin America has it. Southwest Airlines has it. Delta has it. And now Jet Blue is planning to get it too. 

This week Jet Blue announced its new in-flight Wi-Fi service at the World Low Cost Airlines Conference.

Burbank to JFK frequent fliers, let me hear you say, "Yeah!"

Although it is taking the carrier longer than some of its competitors to allow fliers to check email up in the air, the company said it will be worth the wait.

In a blog post on Jet Blue's website, the company said the Ka-Band satellite it launched in October to provide Wi-Fi to its planes is equal in strength to 100 of the Ku-Band satellites that other carriers use to provide a Wi-Fi signal in the air.

Jet Blue said it takes 1 minute and 8 seconds on average for a passenger to open 10 websites using a signal provided by its Ka-Band satellite. On a Ku-Band satellite it would take more than eight minutes to open the same 10 websites. 

Another bonus: The company says that its Wi-Fi won't get slower if more people jump on it. 

The bad news is that Jet Blue isn't planning to launch the service until the first quarter of 2013 -- sometime from January to March. The good news is that the company plans to offer the service free until at least 30 planes have it installed. 

And for those who are wondering how safe it is to check email in the air, when your airlines always ask you to turn off your electronic devices, we got this response from Jet Blue spokesman Mateo Llaras: 

"After you’ve reached 10,000 feet and the crew had advised that electronic devices can be used customers will be able to turn on Wi-Fi access for their devices; however, cellular transmitters must remain off. When you enable airplane mode on most cellular devices you can activate Wi-Fi without exiting airplane mode."

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