updated 02:45 pm EST, Tue January 29, 2008
Continental Airlines Wi-Fi
Continental Airlines today joined a previous approach by JetBlue and said it would begin offering Wi-Fi onboard some of its aircraft. As with details revealed shortly after news of the earlier offering, the new LiveTV-backed service will provide travelers with comparatively low-bandwidth Internet features through most of a given flight. Notebooks, smartphones, and other portable devices that support e-mail and instant messaging services through RIM's BlackBerry network or Yahoo's services will be able to communicate with others on the ground.
The Internet feature will also be linked to a map system that reveals the aircraft's location, in-flight entertainment and information, and a DirecTV service that will offer 36 of the satellite provider's regular TV channels in sync with ground-based subscribers. Using the service will cost $6 for economy flyers for the entire duration of a given trip but will be factored into the ticket price for any first-class passenger. Continental hopes to bring the service live in January 2009 and will first make it available through newer Boeing 737 and 757 airliners.
The expansion represents increasing support of in-cabin Internet access for passenger flights, which saw a significant downturn after Boeing shut down its fledgling Connexion service in 2006.