JetBlue Providing WiFi/TV For Other Airlines?

from the helping-the-industry-out dept

Prior to 9/11, there was a lot of effort being put into plans for internet access from airplanes. However, the resulting turmoil in the airline industry put all of those plans on hold. In the end, that may have been a good thing, as the early technology was both expensive and clunky, and only a few generations later are we starting to see technology that is both affordable to install and use showing up. In the last few months, we've seen more and more stories about WiFi in the sky, with the latest one being that Continental is about to start offering live TV and WiFi, similar to a few other airlines. Having just flown on Continental on an excruciatingly long trip to Europe and back, I'd say that having internet access and live TV would have made the flights much more enjoyable.

What's really interesting here, though, is that Continental is turning to competitor JetBlue to provide the service. We were among those surprised when JetBlue bought some available spectrum for air-to-ground internet access. Like many, we had suspected that it would go to a service provider that would provide a generic service to any airline that wanted it. But, with JetBlue winning the bid, it opened up questions about whether the company would hoard the opportunity as a differentiator for its own flights. Apparently not. If JetBlue can succeed in outfitting other airlines, it could represent a useful side-business for the company -- even if it diminishes some of JetBlue's own competitive advantage. Of course, given that a new study has suggested that WiFi-in-the-sky really isn't a huge selling point, perhaps this makes sense. Basically, people are saying that it's a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have. In other words, it's unlikely to bring that much new business directly to JetBlue, but if JetBlue can make it available on lots of other airlines, people would be happy using it.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2008 @ 7:39pm

    in air web porn gotta love it

     

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    ZeTron, Jan 29th, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Just wait

    This may not be a huge selling point now. However, in a few years when internet access is even more ubiquitous and integrated into every aspect of our daily lives, owning this little slice of the limited golden spectrum will pay huge dividends. (Things that are not even dreamt of yet.) It's also possible the exponential growth of tech will create a demand for the spectrum JetBlue owns even sooner than can be currently imagined.

     

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    matt, Jan 29th, 2008 @ 9:03pm

    jetblue

    Jetblue has done a great job as is. They already have XM and satellite TV on their airplanes, and actually give people more than a stupid bag of peanuts on their flights.
    Not to mention that the airline stewards (and stewardesses) are actually friendly too. Oh, and their prices beat anything I can find with any other airline. And they also have legroom and stewardesses over 5'4. They are an airline that definitely has the right things going at least right now.

    I can see them getting wi-fi as well, since they already have the regular airplane power adapters in each set, too, so tons of people use laptops on their flights.

    Their wifi isn't a huge selling point because they're just making their own superior business more superior. Additionally when you have satellite TV (premium stations might I add, not bogus crap ones - ESPN, CNN, MTV, E!, etc are included) and XM radio, you don't really require internet so much in flight unless it's for business. It'd be like ferrari improving their cars further; brand recognition and history of quality/etc is already there.

     

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      Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2008 @ 10:04pm

      Re: jetblue

      Jetblue has done a great job as is. They already have XM and satellite TV on their airplanes, and actually give people more than a stupid bag of peanuts on their flights.

      Indeed. I'm a huge fan of Jetblue and have traveled on it extensively throughout the US. However, the last few trips with them haven't been nearly as good, as I think they've expanded too quickly, leading to some serious problems -- ESPECIALLY at their JFK hub. At this point, I'm actively trying not to fly JetBlue into JFK until they finish moving into their new terminal. Last time I had to go to their "temporary" gates, which then involved waiting 45 minutes for a van just to get to the main terminal.

       

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        Rob, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:28pm

        Re: Re: jetblue

        45 minutes is a total lie. There is a contant rotation of busses for the 90 second ride to the terminal next door. There is never a wait more then a minute and that is just to let the people off of the bus first. Stop hating!

         

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    widepart, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 1:36am

    jet blue and wifi

    By becoming an ISP to the airlines, Jet Blue will in effect make enough money, I think, to allow, Jet Blue to GIVE AWAY its wi-fi connectivity on Jet Blue flights while having their competitors pay the bill. I know that for me and my wife being connected on long flights would be a great distraction and end the boredom ..........free connectivity and a good ticket prices(something Jet Blue generally has) would have us on that airline whenever possible. my two clicks

     

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    Adam, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 4:40am

    jet blue is the best

    New jets, more leg room, wifi, satellit tv and xm radio, excellen service and low fair. Why would anyone fly other airlines? This an excelent airline. Try them for yourself.

     

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    Alfred E. Neuman, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 5:08am

    .....

    Gotta have something to do while waiting on the tarmac.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Just a stupid thought

    This whole situation proves a serious point that Mike has been making here for a LONG time now, Instead of crying to the government for a bail out Jet Blue has built itself up into an all around good airline. It provided services the consumer wanted at a price their willing to pay. Let's all hope they continue.

     

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    Alimas, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Internet in the Air

    It may not be "need-to-have" now, but I bet it will be once it becomes just a little bit more common.
    I don't know about you, but flights are boring as hell for me, even with their radio.
    Being able to browse the web with my laptop while on the flight would be awesome.

     

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