Alaska Airlines launched its free chat option early this year, and will keep it onboard for the foreseeable
been outfitted with larger overhead bins. Most of the airlines mainline aircraft has received leather seating from Recaro with 110-volt USB power ports. “This week’s enhancements are just the beginning of the new features and promotions guests can expect to see
us implement over the next year,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, in the January 6 announcement of the free chat and new amenities available at the start of the year. Alaska Airlines is also starting with
Gogo teams with Phasor on next-gen antenna At this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association, Gogo and Phasor Solutions, a Washington, DC based-developer of modular, electronically steerable antennas (ESAs), announced a research and development partnership for application of their technology to the inflight connectivity market. Phasor’s very low profile, electronically steerable antenna products are based on semiconductor fabrication techniques, and enable signal tracking with no moving parts. The antenna architecture is inherently modular, which allows the system to be scaled to various sizes and dimensions depending on the demands of the application, making this antenna technology particularly attractive for smaller aircraft. “Gogo is a technology leader in the inflight connectivity market, and we are very pleased to partner with them so that together we may address the burgeoning demand for communications in the aeronautical broadband sector,” said David Helfgott, CEO of Phasor. “Phasor’s breakthrough technology is powerful and flexible and can therefore facilitate multiple inflight connectivity applications. We look forward to working closely with the Gogo team to better serve this important and growing market.”
JetBlue moves ahead with free Wi-Fi Shortly after Alaska Airlines announced its Free Chat option, JetBlue Airways went one step further and announced that its Fly-Fi® connectivity would be complimentary from gate to gate on nearly all its routes. JetBlue’s Fly-Fi® gives passengers the ability to stream video and use multiple devices at once. The service enables JetBlue to deliver Amazon Video streaming entertainment to passengers onboard to their personal devices, as well as web surfing and chatting on messaging apps. JetBlue launched the Ka-band service with ViaSat in December 2013 and has expanded Fly-Fi, recently completing installation on its entire fleet of 227 A320s, A321s and Embraer 190s. 18 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
a new airline partner that has pioneered the way passengers interacted with IFEC onboard programs. Virgin America’s Red inflight entertainment system has had passengers chatting, ordering food and drinks and enjoying the inflight experience in different ways since the airline started operations in 2007. How much of that pioneering spirit will rub off on its new owner? Alaska Airlines’ David Scotland said time and passenger feedback would tell. “We have not made any announcement about the future of the Virgin America onboard product,” he said. “I can tell you that we are taking our time to do thoughtful research and analysis on what fliers love most about the Virgin America experience and will have more to share later on.”
The airline says Fly-Fi is not available on flights operating outside of the continental United States. For flights originating outside of the continental U.S., Fly-Fi will be available once the aircraft returns to the coverage area. “It’s 2017 and our customers expect to be connected everywhere, whether that be from the comfort of their sofa or 35,000 feet above it,” said Jamie Perry, Vice President of marketing, JetBlue, in yesterday’s announcement. “That’s why we’re so proud that JetBlue is now the only airline to offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi, live TV and movies for all customers on every plane.” Gate-to-gate Fly-Fi gives passengers the ability to email, surf, stream, tweet and shop from the moment they board until they reach the arrival gate. JetBlue’s entertainment portal “The Hub” offers passengers the ability to read, watch, buy and learn while onboard. The newest content partner in The Hub is Vox’s premiere technology and culture platform, The Verge, which reaches people curious about the future. Passengers can also use Fly-Fi’s high-speed connection for Internet streaming of Amazon Video on their personal devices or shop on Amazon.com to earn three TrueBlue points for every dollar spent on every purchase.