February 7, 2012
In-Flight Wifi Enabled For Some US Airlines
Regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have long forbidden cellphone calling while in flight, however there have been increasing demands from passengers for the option and government regulators are beginning to warm up to the idea of in-flight wifi, for an added fee of course.
Email and internet browsing have been available on some flights using services from Gogo and Row 44 but passengers are looking to use their own mobile devices, reports Matt Hamblen for ComputerWorld.
Airlines outside the US have allowed in-flight calls for the last 2-3 years using a system that securely and safely channels the wireless signal from a passenger´s device through a router on the plane to satellites or to ground towers.
In-Stat analyst Amy Cravens explained to Hamblen that there is no danger of in-flight wifi interfering with a plane´s communications or navigation systems and many experts explain that regular cellphone calling without wifi is safe. The FAA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still ban the service, preferring to err on the side of caution.
Taking advantage of the FAA relaxation of customers use of in-flight electronics, Denver-based Frontier Airlines has recently announced that it will be offering onboard wifi on its Enabler 190 fleet beginning this week, reports Angela Moscaritolo for PC Mag.
To celebrate the launch, Frontier is providing passengers with half an hour of free wifi throughout the remainder of February.
Frontier´s vice president of marketing, Dan Krause, said in a statement, “Adding wifi to our Embraer fleet is another example of Frontier´s commitment to providing our guests with a comfortable and easy travel experience.”
“We´re confident that the availability of onboard wifi will improve the flying experience of those who want to remain socially connected during their travels.”
It remains to be seen if fellow passengers will appreciate the conversations of strangers talking into the their phones while sitting in such close confines of each other on long flights.
On the Net:
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Row 44
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Frontier Airlines