Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

United Airlines Cleared for Wi-Fi Onboard

Filed under
Sci/Tech

United Airlines, the world's second-largest carrier, received regulatory approval Monday to install wireless Internet access to its fleet in a partnership with Verizon Communications Inc.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave approval to United-parent UAL Corp. to install the cabin equipment necessary to provide wireless Internet connection to passengers and crew members on U.S. domestic flights. United becomes the first domestic airline to get FAA approval that allows passengers to surf the Internet while riding through the sky.

United Airlines and Verizon, which already provides airfone capabilities for the carrier, said it must still get approval from the Federal Communications Commission before the new service can officially launch. Both companies expect to have a date within the coming months, following an FCC spectrum auction where service rights and ranges of frequencies will be awarded to one or more onboard Internet access providers.

"Our research shows that connecting to the Internet is customers' most preferred form of communication to the ground, and this certification is a crucial step to bring this in-flight wireless access to our customers," said Dennis Cary, United's senior vice president-Marketing. "We are thrilled by this accomplishment and proud to lead the industry in North America with Verizon Airfone in this endeavor."

Wireless Internet access is broadly available at airports around the world, and has even begun to pop up on some international flights. Both Lufthansa and Japan Airlines are among a number that provides Wi-Fi for a fee.

Pricing for United's service - which will likely launch in about a year - has yet to be determined. Lufthansa charges international fliers a flat fee of $29.95 for an entire flight or $9.95 for a half-hour.

The FAA approval comes after both companies worked for more than a year to demonstrate Wi-Fi access will not interfere with a plane's operations. The approval currently applies to the cabin of United's B757-200 aircraft, as it was used to test the technology, and is part of a larger strategy to enable Internet access on board all United aircraft.

"Our wireless broadband system will require only the addition of an avionics box, a wireless access point and a directional antenna, making it the faster and more affordable choice for United and its passengers," said Bill Pallone, president, Verizon Airfone.

Shares of UAL - which currently trade over the counter following the company's move into Chapter 11 bankruptcy - rose 30 cents, or 17.4 percent, to close at $2.02. Verizon shares fell 15 cents to close at $35.02 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Six Advantages of Choosing Linux over Windows

Linux is multi-functional and efficient. Everyone shells out money for a computer. On top if it spending more on an operating system is not a feasible option for many if there are alternatives. Windows requires users to pay licensing fees and other extended fees, whereas Linux is free. It is charged a minimal fee when bought from other distribution companies. Hardware requirements are not a problem for Linux whereas Windows requires a higher set of specifications for hardware if it has to run, and be compatible on the users' computer systems. The poor efficiency of Windows consumes a large space and the processing speed slows down drastically. With Windows users can not use old computers if they are aiming at good back up. Read more

Tizen Samsung Smart Camera NX1 with a new UI coming next month?

Samsung Electronics has been making steady headway in the world of cameras, and possibly leading the pack when it comes to Smart Cameras with its features that it offers. We heard a while ago that samsung where going to be releasing another flagship Smart Camera following the release of the Samsung NX30 camera. Read more

Re-Clocking Your NVIDIA GPU With Nouveau On Linux 3.17

If you are trying to re-clock your NVIDIA GPU with the Nouveau driver when using the Linux 3.17 kernel, there's an extra step involved, but still your mileage may vary and the re-clocking is still mostly for Kepler GPUs. With the Nouveau driver changes for Linux 3.17 there are no magic breakthroughs when it comes to re-clocking -- allowing the GPU's core and memory clocks to run at their rated frequencies and voltages rather than any (often much lower) values programmed by the video BIOS at boot time. With Linux 3.17 came re-clocking for Kepler GPUs and now it works, but generally not all performance levels/states properly function. If you are running a GeForce 400/500 "Fermi" GPU or other generations of NVIDIA hardware aside from the few integrated mobile chipsets, chances are you're out of luck in being able to tap the full potential of the GPU when using this open-source, reverse-engineered NVIDIA GPU. Read more

Samsung's Tizen Mobile OS Failing to Impress Device Makers, Pundits

Samsung's Tizen mobile operating system is under fire. Some industry pundits have called the operating system, which is open-source and designed to take on Android, a failure, even though it has reached the market in only a few minor mobile products and really hasn't had a chance to show its worth. Just recently, in fact, Huawei, a top China-based device and telecommunications equipment maker, said that it researched the possibility of using Tizen but found that it couldn't serve its needs. The company said that it sees Tizen failing eventually with no chance of competing against the likes of Android and others. Samsung, the company behind Tizen, has been silent on the complaints about its operating system. While the company has acknowledged that it has faced some challenges in design, it's still saying publicly that it can make Tizen a mainstream option in the mobile space. Samsung has even said Tizen could be an ideal choice for wearables, where the company has already brought the operating system to some of its devices. The truth, however, is not as simple as Samsung would have the market believe. This eWEEK slide show looks at the reasons why Tizen may have a hard time proving itself as a viable alternative to Android or any other mobile operating system. Read more