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JetBlue to Offer WiFi 121

andyring writes "Although some trans-Atlantic flights offer WiFi for a fee, JetBlue has won approval from the FCC to provide WiFi on their flights." From the article: "While Verizon's telephone service aboard commercial planes has not done well because of the high cost to use the phones, there has been interest in offering high-speed Internet access in the air to business travelers. The licenses will not mean travelers can soon use their cell phones in the air. The FCC and Federal Aviation Administration are still weighing whether to permit that."
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JetBlue to Offer WiFi

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  • I had to use one of those phones they have on planes it cost me a bomb, I can only imagine this will cost a lot more than if you were say surfing on your laptop in a hot spot in Starbucks. But I welcome the move of wifi, I think the use of cell phones will cause more problems with people getting anoyed at other people talking loudly raising cabin tensions.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:25PM (#15458475)
    In Post-9/11 America, do not attempt to host a CounterStrike server on laptop and use WiFi to see if anyone's interested in a little ad-hoc FPS action.
    • I was flying JetBlue about two days ago... and was actually fairly tempted to load up HL2. Something just told me it might be frowned upon, and not just because of the melted tray table that would ensue.
  • Great. Just great. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shiafu ( 220820 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:26PM (#15458482)
    As if the "brrrrrring" / "brrrrruuung" sounds of AOL instant messenger were not annoying enough in the college dorms.
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:26PM (#15458483) Homepage Journal
    we'll get a bunch of idiots blathering over VOIP.

    Great! :(

    One of the last bastions of not having to listen to idiots shout their personal business gone.

    • I share your fear. Just yesterday, I spent eleven hours on an Amtrak train from Boston to Syracuse. All around me, people were yakking nonstop on their cell phones. Reading and working was practically impossible.

      I'm guessing that in a few years, cellphone and VOIP talk on airplanes will be widespread. At that point, you're going to be stuck bringing headphones and listening to music for your entire flight. What a bummer that will be.

      • "At that point, you're going to be stuck bringing headphones and listening to music for your entire flight. What a bummer that will be."

        And that's different from the current situation... how? The plane itself already makes an annoying amount of noise. Mostly-white noise. you know, the kind that makes it hard to hear conversations more than a few feet away. And at a level that noise-cancelling headphones are already a must for anyone who cares about their ears or sleeping or that portable movie you broug
        • And that's different from the current situation... how? The plane itself already makes an annoying amount of noise. Mostly-white noise. you know,

          White noise isn't a nuisance. In fact it's quiet relaxing, it drowns out the small noises so it actually seems quieter. I often leave the computer on in my bedroom when I go to sleep and there's noise nearby, as the fan drowns it out.

          Conversations are far more irritating as they're unpredictable and high-pitched. Phones are even worse because you're only hearing on
          • Phones are even worse because you're only hearing one side of the conversation which for some reason makes it twice as annoying.

            I'm think that's the key. We're used to hearing strangers' normal conversations and we're pretty good at subconsciously tuning them out. With cell phones, the guy talks for a few seconds, then silence, then starts talking again. My entirely unsupported theory is that each time he starts talking, our brains register it as a "new" conversation and have to expend effort to once again
        • Noise-cancelling headphones work great for airplane background noise.

          They are near-worthless for dealing with the noise created by those who feel their stupid loud conversation is more important than the 30 people nearby they are disturbing..

          • Depends on the headphone. My main point is that planes are already loud and annoying. My fellow passengers attempting to have a conversation is not so annoying. Unless they're trying to have a conversation with ME when I'm clearly trying to sleep. I don't need to hear some burnt out salesman tell me how great he is.

            and crying babies. I know I'm going to come off as rude here, but infants do not belong on airplanes. For one thing, their only way of telling you "this hurts" also happens to be their only
      • Right! Time to ban talking in public places!

        Or you could buy some earplugs.

        • But why should they have to spend $.30 on a pair of earplugs to allow them and everyone else to get what they want, when they can just demand that everybody modify their behavior for their convinence. After all, the assholes demanding silence in public places are more important than everyone else, right?
      • There are all the trains in europe where they ban cell phones except in special cars. Knowing this, the last time I spent an inordinate ammount of time on an amtrak, I simply ran up a large bill for text messages so that I could avoid annoying the very annoying woman sitting next to me.

        I certainly hope they keep cell phones off of flights...(and even though they work on most flights, they are a HUGE strain on the tower network on the ground which is not designed to deal with calls from airplanes.

        • There are all the trains in europe where they ban cell phones except in special cars.

          Having travelled the breadth of Europe by train, from the Iberian peninsula to the Ural mountains, I've only once seen a request (not even an obligation) for no cell phone use in the car. "Banning" of cell phones is not common there, and the situation is much the same as in the U.S.

          • I know the TGV in France has special cars for cell phones.
          • The poster mentioned Amtrak, so is in the USA. All the things which one thinks are better are always being done in Europe. In European countries, all the things which one thinks are better are always being done in the USA.
            And I'm in the USA, so I know that the latter must be true.
          • Having travelled the breadth of Europe by train, from the Iberian peninsula to the Ural mountains, I've only once seen a request (not even an obligation) for no cell phone use in the car. "Banning" of cell phones is not common there, and the situation is much the same as in the U.S.

            Perhaps you need to learn the language most commonly spoken on the Iberian peninsula before making these proclamations. I took the AVE from Sevilla to Madrid two weeks ago and it was clearly announced in Spanish that talking

      • Amtrak Quiet Cars []

        At least Amtrak gets this right.

      • Get headphones. I got nice big sony DJ headphones [I'm not a DJ but I like the style] and they basically cover my entire ears. Insert your fav mp3/whatever player and boom no more "quarterly sales" update in the gate area.

        I swear some people are just so self-important...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I still say that I've far more often been annoyed by idiots shouting loudly to the person sitting right next to them than into their phone.
  • by Footix ( 972079 )
    I can't imagine the NSA being overly impressed by this. Oh, wait, data retention! Never mind...
  • by JavaTHut ( 9877 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:31PM (#15458521) Homepage eless+license/2100-1039_3-6079558.html? p []

    "A spokesman from JetBlue said he was unable to comment on what the company plans to do with its 1MHz license. Some speculate it will offer more in-flight video entertainment and Internet services. JetBlue already offers DirecTV service on its flights."

    The way the post is written makes it sound like JetBlue is giving free WiFi on their flights. Not only is it not stated it will be free, but it's not stated it will be WiFi, just that they won some wireless spect.
  • Been there done that (Score:5, Informative)

    by original_nickname ( 930551 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:33PM (#15458534) Journal
    I used the Connexions by Boeing service on a JAL flight recently. It was very good, $26 for 24 hours use on any boeing plane, and was fast enough to allow skype usage, and was much cheaper than the inflight phone :)

    I can't sleep on planes, so it was great to check my e-mail and get holiday photos ready on the plane on the way back too instead of losing time.

    Also there was an important notice that no ad-hoc connections were allowed for safety reasons, although how valid those were (I suspect: not very) I don't know.
    • no ad-hoc connections were allowed for safety reasons

      Ha ha, pull the other one. Since neither you nor I can think of any reason to believe the safety excuse, can anybody else?

      More likely they just don't want anybody reselling the service. Pop a second Wi-Fi card into your laptop, get a merchant account to verify CC numbers and you're ready to make a killing undercutting their price by 50%. At least you'd recoup your own WiFi cost, with only 2 sales. Come to think of it [], it wouldn't require ad-hoc a

  • Bluetooth (Score:4, Funny)

    by Drakster ( 976032 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:34PM (#15458544)
    Good thing that it isn't Bluetooth. bus.jpg []
  • I have to say Jet Blue has always impressed me with their service, although unfortunately they don't fly everywhere I want to go. Has anyone seen a study detailing the return on money invested in passanger comforts by airlines?
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:42PM (#15458600)
    How about turning one of the rear restrooms into a shower; so stinky in the middle seat wont kill my Thinkpad with his stench alone?

    How about a mini-tasor gun in my armrest for the toddler behind me who keeps kicking my seat? And a fullsize tasor for his mother for being a stupid bitch?

    How about a ceiling mounted electric cattle prod for the dude with the overstuffed backpacks that he shoved into the overhead, crushing my leather jacket?

    If JetBlue could give me those things, and keep the blue potato chips coming until I say stop, I'll never fly another domestic carrier.

  • Bug in the blurb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bromskloss ( 750445 ) <auxiliary.addres ... y@ g m a i> on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:43PM (#15458603)
    Although some trans-Atlantic flights offer WiFi for a fee, JetBlue has won approval from the FCC to provide WiFi on their flights.
    Why would fees, charged on some trans-Atlantic flights, make it more difficult for this JetBlue thingy to get approval?
  • by AudioEfex ( 637163 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @06:46PM (#15458633)
    Jet Blue is the most amazing airline out there - cheap tickets, no hassle terms (i.e. you can change your ticket without penalty for a measley 20 bucks up until the flight departs), super-accomodating employees, nice, roomy seats, DirectTV, those delicious blue chips, and now this!

    Knowing JetBlue it won't be very expensive either. They are truly the model of how an airline should be, focused on the passenger, their cost, and experience, not simply a government-bailed-out bloated corporation that sells seats next to each other for hundreds and thousands different than the seat next to them.

    So bravo to Jet Blue - they already are my favorite airline, and they just keep getting better!

    • And they have very limited routes, which is probably what makes them able to provide such good service. Every flight goes to or from New York.
      • "Every flight goes to or from New York."

        Really? I must have missed something when I was told that JetBlue flies nonstop from Long Beach to several cities in the US. Or that Jetblue flies out of the Oakland nonstop to several major cities other than NYC, like Boston and DC. Or that Jetblue flies nonstop from Burbank to Las Vegas, and Burbank to Orlando.

        I didn't realize all these flights somehow stop in NYC. []

        More accurately, Jetblue is a point-to-point airline.
      • Go check out Jet Blue's website...they are adding new routes all the time. From some places, yes, they require a stop in New York, but that's just for the more obscure airports (Portland, ME, for example).

        I know they don't go everywhere, but they go to most major domestic travel locations these days. If you haven't checked their site in a few months, go do so - I'm always shocked at the expansion.

        If it's an option, it's great; if it's not, then pray that it soon is. I'm amazed that I'm a "fan" of an airl
      • And they have very limited routes, which is probably what makes them able to provide such good service. Every flight goes to or from New York.

        I've flown JetBlue probably 50 times on a half-dozen different routes, never once to or from New York.

        Stupidity is like nuclear power, it can be used for good or evil. And you don't want to get any on you.

        Time to check your hazmat suit for leaks?

    • Sure wish they flew anywhere near where I live, or where I need to go. Oh well...
    • I fly all the time on business and discovered JetBlue several years ago for my company's annual Orlando conference (I'm in Boston). Since I bring the wife and kids along, I used to play all the games I could to get free tickets from my miles (mostly American and Delta, both of whom should burn in hell forever). It always ended up costing a bunch of money anyway, and miserable connections through DC or Philly or Atlanta.

      Business travel is misery, pure and simple. Last night American kept me on the plane f
    • Yes, they have low prices, but at what cost? You might find the following article about how they outsource their maintenance mainly to El Salvador where according to the article:

      "Roughly one-third of the Salvadoran mechanics have passed the exam that qualifies them for the Federal Aviation Administration's license, while in the United States, such licenses are required for all mechanics employed directly by the airlines."

      Kind of scary, eh?

      They are truly the model of how an airline should be, focused on the
      • Scary? Maybe. Most airlines that I know of have a pretty powerful self-interest in maintaining their planes well. Airplane crashes not only destroy multi million dollar planes, they also ruin reputations to the point where airlines have to change their names in order to survive. From a purely practical point of view, then, skimping on maintenance is a poor idea.

        I'm not sure how much credibility I'd put in certifications and tests. Look at how much many of us laugh at the MSCE (the Microsoft credentials
  • They Blue It (Score:2, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
    JetBlue promised not to send its passengers' personal data to Homeland Security (or anyone else). But they did, they lied to cover it up, and were exposed. And they never were held accountable.

    Expect every packet on their WiFi to be sniffed, analyzed and sent to the highest bidder. Including, but not limited to, DHS.
    • Fine with me. What are you so scared of? Are you planning on downloading child porn while you are a mile high?

      Look, the internet is an open book...anything you look at, or put on it, anywhere, is open game. It's just common sense.

      If you expect any public connection like that to not be exposed you are sorely mistaken. If Bush and his cronies want to know that I read Yahoo! news, checked /., and went to to check TV prices while I'm flying, they are more than welcome to waste their time.

      Smart p
      • Excellent job of missing the point entirely.

        JetBlow said they would not release PNR info to the feds. Later, it turned out that they were doing precisely that while lying about it.

        You are free, of course, to choose to do business with known liars who hand over your personal information to government spies operating without judicial oversight, and with neither your knowledge or consent. That's one benefit of living, for the time being, in a free country.
        • Great tactic telling me I miss the point just because I disagree if it's a problem or not.

          The fact is, the government can find out anything about you they wish much easier than asking JetBlue. JetBlue has no information about me that the government couldn't find much more easily in other ways.

          I understand the issue, that the government is out of control spying on us, and I hope that those responsible loose power (and I am more politically active than most citizens so that isn't a passive wish). However, I
          • Just because you don't care about your privacy doesn't mean I don't. When someone steals your ID from JetBlue or some other careless, unaccountable corporate violator of their privacy policies, you're free to catch up with the value of privacy. You say "the over-reaching government issue" like it's some abstraction that matters only in some vague principle. But my right to privacy is my right, even if you think you can waive yours.
      • That's not the point.

        The point is: It's none of their fucking business what you or I am reading/downloading/uploading/etc. on the Internet, or talking about on the telephone, and furthermore, those fucks are violating the very laws they're supposed to be enforcing in the first place. It's about rights and laws, and not the fact that today I wasted most of the day reading posts on slashdot.
  • Skype is the first one that comes to mind. In fact, a hardcore business traveler wouldn't scoff at Nokia's $300+ cost for the 802.11 Wi-FI SKype phone. I, for one, can't wait until this goes from being a luxury service, to a standard one.
    • However, the airlines could block the service. For instance the local library here blocks FTP access, sure one can get around it by changing ports (same went for AIM when I was in high school), but I highly doubt the average business traveller will know enough the change the port.
      • This is true, but couldn't another port could be used. My school blocked AIM too.

        They first had a program that ran in the background that quit any unauthorized apps. The 1st solution was to turn off the program squashing app.
        Then they made Task Manager unavailable. The solution was to change the application name.
        Then they kept you from access Program Files and DLing software. The solution was to use AIM Express from
        Then they blocked The solution was to use

        My point is that there
  • Just to pre-empt millions of posts: passenger mobiles/WLAN etc. are not a significant danger to the flight instruments and cause for the plane to crash etc. This has been dealth with before. [] Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.
    • by raehl ( 609729 )
      A flight I was on in February had to be diverted because a hijacker armed with a cell phone was demanding the release of prisoners from Isreal. I can only imagine what our fate would have been if he had been able to press the power button before some other passengers and I were able to forcibly subdue him. Fortunately, once we had him under control, one of the other passengers was able to use their phone to call 911.
    • That's not necessarily the point of banning wireless devices. The fact is that flight attendants can't be trained to recognize "good" devices from "bad" devices. Therein lies the technical element to the safety issue.

      The other major concerns have to do with personal safety--not being distracted in an emergency when instructions are being given, having the cabin clear during take-off and landing phases, etc. Then there are the separate problems of interference with ground communications and general cou
  • You would probably need special software to compensate of the doppler shift caused by the motion of the plane, depending on whether the WAP was in the front or back of the plane.
    • This has to be a joke.

      You do realize the plane has radios of its own right?

      In the time the signal travels the max 100m from one end to another the plane probably moved 1mm in space at most. They're also fixed points relative to each other.

      By your logic microwave towers shouldn't work, and the earth rotates FAR FASTER than planes travel (which is why you still lose time when you travel west).

      • Hehe, okay I reckon that the poster was joking, but forgot to hint with a smilie. Anyway about the plane travelling about a milimeter in that time , I thought in my head it'd probably be closer to hundredths of a milimeter rather than milimeters, so geek that I am, I did the maths: speed of light = 299 792 458m/s speed of passenger plane = about 400 knots = 205.777778 meters / second (according to boeing, then google conversion tools) Time it takes light to go 100 m = 100/299,792,458 = 1/299,792.458 secon
        • In my math induced excitement, i forgot my manners and my
          tags. Here are the missing tags.

        • Great, except that WiFi signals are radio (sound) waves, not light waves.

          Now, the big question is, what happens in supersonic flight?! :-)

          (Yes, that's a joke folks.)
          • Which part was the joke? Radio waves travel just as fast as light does [at least in a vacuum].

            And it doesn't matter, doppler only occurs for radio [or light] when two bodies are moving relative to one another. If you're on the plane and you're AP is on the plane then you're both stationary.

            You'd get more acceleration from moving the laptop in your lap then by the amount the airframe bends as it travels through the air...

            I know you seem to be kiddin but this thread is seriously bunkable.

            • Hmm, as far as I can work out, there's a teeny doppler for our instance here; when a body is moving at even, say 25% the speed of light and emits an electromagnetic wave in the opposite direction to travel, the wave still travels at 100% of the speed of light- it's speed or wavelength isn't changed by the emitted object.

              If i'm right, the speed at which the plane is moving does not affect the speed at which the light is emitted from it....... so in effect the emitter may as well be stationary and the re
    • See, this is why engineers get annoyed when computer engineers call themselves engineers...

  • I find all this talk of internet access in economy hilarious. On most flights with the seat pitch what it is I can barely open a paperback book on the tray table. My laptop? Forget it!! It stays in the overhead bin.
    • Feel lucky. Hell on my one and only KLM flight I could hardly reach forward to eat the crap they called a meal.

      And what's with the arm rests that sit 2" off the seat? My elbow doesn't go that far (I'm ~6'1") down and if the plane ever did roll I'd just topple over it anyways, it isn't high enough to catch my body in any meaningful manner. I swear plane designers have to either be super greedy or REALLY SHORT.

      I also laugh when I see some 6'6" sucker get on the plane ahead of me. At least they're going th
    • Laptops aren't the only wireless devices...

      I would love to have my Zaurus connected wirelessly, maybe with an external keyboard, but probably not necessary. Most of what I would probably do online is check/respond to email, some light surfing.

  • Now you can work on your Writely document or Gliffy diagram on the plane.
  • If everyone on a plane turned all their electronic stuff on at the same time the walls of the plane would relflect the radiation and cook everyone alive.

  • What is worse than the 14 hour flight and corresponding jetlag when my job sends me to China?

    Being expected to telecommute from the plane.
  • by eggboard ( 315140 ) * on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:20PM (#15459524) Homepage
    Unfortunately, some of the coverage of this air-to-ground spectrum auction has had the wrong information and led to the wrong conclusions. I've been writing about this at Wi-Fi Networking News since early last year, and have covered the auction since its start in early May. Here's the real scoop. (You can read my run down of these auctions over at my Wi-Fi site []. I was quoted in last week's Associated Press article on these auctions and on public radio's Marketplace early this week.)

    First, it's not about Wi-Fi, it's about air-to-ground broadband. More on that in a second.

    Second, JetBlue won the smaller of two licenses sold at auction.

    Third, it'll be up to two years before service commences.

    The auction determined which of three exclusive spectrum configurations would win out. The winning versions was 3 MHz to AC BidCo LLC, a sister company with AirCell, and 1 MHz to JetBlue. The 3 MHz license was widely seen as the desirable one because using standard EVDO Rev. A, there should be over 1.5 Mbps available in each direction. (The FCC designed the new licenses to handle EVDO and a few other standards, and the allotted spectrum is split symmetrically in air-to-ground and ground-to-air segments.)

    JetBlue, the owners of license winners LiveTV, will likely use its approximately 500 Kbps downstream to carry streaming video or to spool video for inflight use through cached content. Upstream could be used for cabin surveillance and aircraft use. JetBlue might roll out this technology to other airlines.

    AirCell already runs a general aviation (non-commercial) air-station network for in-flight broadband, and will be able now to cut deals with all the major airlines that want this. Their ultimate system should be lightweight (thus not a big fuel drag) and desirable.

    Wi-Fi has to be tested separately, by the way. They won't be able to just turn this on. The FCC and FAA will require them to test their equipment with specific airlines and planes in order to roll it out.

    With dual-mode cell phones (cell + Wi-Fi) plus Skype and other VoIP services on laptops plus Wi-Fi-only handsets, it will be likely that calling in flight will be very common.

    The other part of this deal is that Verizon AirFone, which controls parts of the 4 MHz that was auctioned off, now has up to two years to move from 4 MHz to a vertically polarized 1 MHz (overlapping with LiveTV's license). License winners are allowed to give Verizon financial incentives to move faster. AirFone is on 4,500 planes, including government ones, and is highly underused. With this move to new equipment, AirFone might dramatically drop its pricing...or airlines might ask for the equipment to be entirely removed.
  • If you have WiFi (802.11b/g), you can make outbound long distance using any SIP client (i.e. X-Lite []) communicating to any SIP provider (i.e. Voxee []) at 1.1 cents per minute... Why would you want to use cellular ($0.07/min - $0.20/min) when you can make calls via WiFi ($0.01/min)?
  • I don't mind the ability to surf the internet on flights. Phone calls, however, I hope will always be prohibitively expensive. That way people will only use them if they really have to. Please don't make me have to sit next to people talking on their phones!

    So, do you think the airline will choose to filter the internet to make it harder for people to look up porn on flights? Then again, airports always have tons of porn mags. I've never seen anyone buy one though.
  • One giant leap for mesh network.

    And up skirt stewardess pics!
  • Unfortunately I serve as "IT super-guru" to my consulting group and get upwards of 50-100+ emails a day asking for advice on one question or another. I say "unfortunately" because a) I'd rather they get competent staff for their projects and b) some of the questions are OMG!?!?! answer now or we lose the contract.

    For all the disparaging remarks:

    a) Yes, there really are emails/phone calls that are worth $5+/minute. This sounds stupid but when you can answer a question in $10 worth of time that saves a $
  • I wouldn't mind WiFi on a plane nearly as much as cell phones. Putting aside VOIP, that is. There will be nothing worse than allowing cell phones to be used on planes. That would be the ultimate and final indignity to whatever remains of what used to be a high-quality experience. First they stopped the good food. Then they stopped all the food. Now cell phones? Please, no. Not that.

    But it will happen eventually. There's no real technical reason to ban the use of cell phones in the air. There never
  • I shall call it... WiFly!
  • The airline flights - as miserable as they are - are some of my few respites from work. If I can be connected (and thus available) while flying, it's a very short jump to I must be connected while traveling.


Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous