No More Long, Boring Flights!: United Debuts Overseas Wi-Fi

United Airlines Airbus 319 equipped with satellite Wi-Fi.
Darren Booth | CNBC
United Airlines Airbus 319 equipped with satellite Wi-Fi.

Road warriors rejoice! United Airlines this week debuted satellite-based Wi-Fi, making it the first U.S. airline to offer Internet connectivity during long overseas flights. Prices range from $3.99 to $19.99.

Three United aircraft will feature Panasonic Avionics Corporation's Ku-band satellite technology, including one Boeing 747 and two Airbus 319s. United expects to add the service to 300 planes by the end of the year.

Passengers have a choice of two connection speeds: Standard service is priced between $3.99 and $14.99 depending on the flights' duration. Accelerated services will be priced between $5.99 and $19.99 and offer faster download speeds.

As more airlines add Wi-Fi service to their aircraft, in-flight entertainment options, including streaming content to passengers' own devices, will likely expand. (Read more: Airlines Paving Way for Use of Wi-Fi Devices on Flights: Report)

"Satellite-based Wi-Fi service enables us to better serve our customers and offer them more of what they want in a global airline," said Jim Compton, United's vice chairman and chief revenue officer, in a press release.

Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines already offer satellite-based Wi-Fi service on overseas flights, and Delta Air Lines is adding Wi-Fi service to its international fleet beginning this year. (Read more: Delta Air Lines to Expand Wi-Fi to Overseas Flights)


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