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JetBlue announced this week that it will offer customers free Wi-Fi on all of its aircraft by fall 2016. More than half of the airline’s planes have already been equipped with the service, called Fly-Fi, including its entire fleet of 150 Airbus A320s and A321s. When the installation is complete, JetBlue will be the only airline that offers free Wi-Fi to all of its customers.
JetBlue boasts that its service, which serves 20 Mbps per device at 35,000 feet, is fast enough to stream video and have the same internet function as users would have at home — on a recent flight, TPG intern Mark Kellman encountered significant buffering when he tried to stream YouTube videos with the free version, so if you want to watch online video content you’ll need to opt for JetBlue’s premium service, Fly-Fi+. The upgraded service costs $9 per hour and should offer a noticeably faster connection, especially when it comes to streaming video. All Fly-Fi-enabled aircraft are equipped with ViaSat’s Ka-band service, which is the same type United uses on its 737s.
In yesterday’s announcement, JetBlue also mentioned its partnership with Amazon, which will allow subscribers to stream Amazon Prime when connected to Fly-Fi for no additional charge to their membership.
Earlier this year, JetBlue did away with its free checked bag policy, leaving Southwest as the only airline that offers customers free checked bags. However, with JetBlue’s latest move, it will become the only airline to offer something else — free Wi-Fi, something it began providing in 2013.
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