United Airlines will upgrade its current Boeing 787-8 fleet with inflight Internet, bringing those Dreamliners in line with new deliveries of the 787-8 and -9 which arrive factory-fitted for sky-high surfing.
“The 787-9 was the first Dreamliner to be certificated with Wi-Fi” United senior vice-president Dave Hilfman told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the launch of United's new direct Los Angeles-Melbourne route.
The airline is now “working with Boeing and Panasonic as quickly as possible on the (Boing 787-8) retrofit” Hilfman revealed.
United's Boeing 777s are also in line for the refit, with the Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-San Francisco services slated to offer inflight Internet by the end of next year.
United charges US$17 (A$19) for unlimited Internet access throughout the flight, compared to the data-capped plans of Singapore Airlines.
That price point was in part determined by “a lot of places in the US offering Wi-Fi for six hours at US$9.99”, Hilfman revealed, with United’s own flights between Australia and the States averaging 14 hours across the Pacific.
However, Hilfman added that United is "looking to have the option based on utilisation, to bring the price down periodically – or up – depending on promotions."
United views wireless Internet as “hugely important for travellers, especially business people”, with Aussie flyers able to connect onwards from Los Angeles and San Francisco to New York on UA’s p.s. Premium Service aircraft.
These flights already come kitted out with Internet connectivity – enabling passengers to remain connected on the full journey from Sydney or Melbourne to The Big Apple – and also have international-grade fully-flat beds for travellers in BusinessFirst.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Melbourne as a guest of United Airlines.
More on inflight Internet:
- Telstra tests 4G inflight Internet for Sydney-Melbourne route
- Review: Etihad inflight Internet
- Internet access now available on all Etihad Boeing 777 flights
- Review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 inflight Internet
- Qantas scrubs plans for inflight Internet
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