Panasonic's In-Flight Broadband Service Misses Its Connexion

from the delayed dept

After Boeing announced several months ago that it was shutting down its Connexion in-flight broadband service, a Panasonic unit said it would fill the gap. It said it wouldn't take over Connexion, but had a new and better service, and that it would be easy for airlines to switch their Connexion-enabled planes to it. However, with the shutdown of Connexion looming in the next few days, it looks like the Panasonic system is still grounded, because the company, its partners and airlines still can't agree on a deal. It's rather fitting that the holdup here is a commercial, not a technical one. Connexion proved that a decent in-flight broadband service was technically possible, and that's no longer a question. But despite all the apparent interest in such a service, it failed to catch on. Pricing may have been too high for most people, or perhaps the many surveys saying people really want to surf while they fly were just wrong. The economics of the airline industry don't help, either, and with airlines just getting back on their feet after several lean years, they're still hesitant to shell out the costs of wiring their planes for access. Forthcoming air-to-ground services may offer some cost savings over satellite-based systems for flights over North America, but that's still only part of the issue: are enough people willing to pay for in-flight broadband to support the service?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    dorpus, 22 Dec 2006 @ 9:15am

    Inelastic supply curve

    Flights between the Western World and Asia remain the most lucrative segment of the global airline industry, and internet or not, there are only so many flights.

    Despite all the talk of the internet bringing prices down, the internet has had zero effect on the prices of long flights to Asia. All the cheap-tickets.com sites conspicuously lack Asian flight destinations; when Asian destinations appear at all, they are at jacked-up prices. Just as before, getting the rare cheap ticket to Asia remains an art of knowing the right people and staying on their good side.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    redhammy, 22 Dec 2006 @ 10:35am

    Problem not with end-users

    I think the problem isn't that customers don't want in-flight broadband. Instead, the problem is that it is very expensive to outfit a plane with the technology, and the airlines don't want to pay for it. There aren't many customers for the service because it just isn't offered to many customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 22 Dec 2006 @ 11:02am

    Price

    They asked the wrong question on the survey.
    Instead of "would you like internet access on your flight?" it should have been: "Are you willing to pay an expensive price for mediocre internet access on your flight?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    achso, 22 Dec 2006 @ 11:10am

    good while it lasted

    I thought the service on LH worked well...it was a bit pricey, but 10 bux for an hour of entertainment from the 11h flight wasn't soo bad...plus you could always alert the folks picking you up about how late you would be...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kneeL, 22 Dec 2006 @ 11:22am

      Re: good while it lasted

      10 bux an hour for an 11 hour flight, someone here said. That's $110 for less than half a day's worth of probably shotty-at-best internet access? No thanks, I'll play my DS on the flight and wait until we land to connect :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence Sinclair, 22 Dec 2006 @ 11:29am

    It was a bargain

    It costs something like $25 to turn a 14 hour+ economy class flight from New York to Tokyo from an uncomfortable and isolated ordeal into something a quite a bit more endurable. I was able to IM chat with friends (without bothering any of my fellow passengers), surf the web to plan what to do at my destination. I could have traded stocks or gambled, if I was so inclined.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Buck, 22 Dec 2006 @ 11:40am

    Can We?

    Can we maybe try to stop 'acting cute' with the news headlines? I understand what it takes to be a "journalist" for a WEBSITE, but that doesn't mean you need to try and make the worst jokes on the planet from the headlines. We aren't looking for a laugh, we're looking for news.

    Personally, this is the last time I click on some damn link where the author is so full of himself that he actually thinks that crap is amusing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon Pussy, 22 Dec 2006 @ 12:12pm

    Pussy

    Only pussies post Anonymously

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ayman Zeibak, 9 Nov 2009 @ 1:23pm

    IN flight internet

    it is the most importatant services that AIRLINES can offer , we enjoyed using the internet while flying when it used to be wih LUFTHANSA , befor BOEING decided to shut down their serivces .
    I am looking for a strong company who can provide internet services during flight and ready to go on profit sharing business at any time .
    we have a huge demand and interestedbusiness customers to useit , price has to be reasonble and guarantee speed .

    regard,

    Ayman Zeibak

    IT, TELECOM company

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.