United Continental Holdings, Inc. subsidiary Continental Airlines has signed a letter of intent with in-flight entertainment provider LiveTV to offer in-flight Wi-Fi via Ka-band beginning in 2012.
Continental Airlines plans to offer the service on more than 200 U.S. domestic Boeing 737s and 757s equipped with DirecTV, providing onboard connectivity and more than 95 channels of live television programming to customers flying within the continental United States.
United Continental Holdings says 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.
The company’s other main subsidiary United Airlines currently offers in-flight Internet service on 14 aircraft, including on all United p.s. flights linking New York John F. Kennedy International Airport with Los Angeles and San Francisco. These aircraft also have 110-volt power ports in their premium-class seats.
United Continental says Continental’s planned expansion of in-flight Wi-Fi services underscores the company’s commitment to providing unique options that enable customers to customize their travel experience.
The company says it is continuing 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, which United Continental claims is more than any other U.S.-based carrier.
In addition, United Continental Holdings 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.