United Continental Holdings, Inc. have announced its wholly owned subsidiary Continental Airlines has executed a letter of intent with inflight entertainment provider LiveTV to offer inflight Wi-Fi via Ka-band beginning next year. The company plans to offer the service on more than 200 domestic Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft equipped with DIRECTV(R), providing onboard connectivity and more than 95 channels of live television programming to customers flying within the continental United States.
Ka-band will be able to offer higher transmission speeds for more extensive onboard connection capabilities, including browsing of content-rich websites, sending and receiving e-mails and downloading files.
United Airlines currently offers inflight Internet service on 14 aircraft, including on all p.s.(R) flights linking New York Kennedy with Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The planned expansion of inflight Wi-Fi services underscores the company's commitment to providing unique options that enable customers to customize their travel experience. The company continues to reconfigure United and Continental aircraft with new flat-bed seats in premium cabins – with the new flat-bed product already on 116 aircraft in the combined fleet, more than any other U.S.-based carrier. In addition, the company intends to begin installation of Economy Plus seating on Continental aircraft beginning in 2012.
The letter of intent with LiveTV provides the framework for a definitive agreement to be negotiated with LiveTV.
Ka-band will utilize ViaSat's ViaSat-1, which will be the world's highest-capacity satellite upon its launch later in 2011.