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United activates ViaSat's blazing-fast satellite WiFi on select 737s

Zach Honig
02.26.14
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JetBlue's Fly-Fi satellite internet has been online since November, but while a handful of United's 737s have been equipped with the necessary components to launch its own version of the service for the same period of time, that legacy carrier has kept passengers in the dark. Until this week. According to travel blogger Wandering Aramean, United has since flipped the switch on its latest WiFi effort. But unlike the Gogo available on its transcontinental 757s and the Panasonic satellite-based service aboard select A319, A320 and 747 aircraft, this latest version connects to the ultra-fast ViaSat-1 satellite, letting you surf at 30,000 feet with speeds you'd normally only find on the ground. We tested the same connection aboard a JetBlue A320 in November, and unlike United's existing connectivity options, which are often sluggish and spotty, this service flies.

Unfortunately it's not clear where to find the Ka-band-equipped aircraft today, but if you're on a United 737 with DirecTV, there's a small chance it'll also have ViaSat satellite WiFi onboard. We're also not sure of pricing -- JetBlue is charging an introductory rate of $9 per hour for faster service, with basic connectivity available for free for the next few months, but United has yet to confirm its own fee structure. Based on the airline's current satellite WiFi pricing, we'd expect the new service to run between $10 and $15, depending on the length of your flight. We're of course eager to get onboard, so if you happen upon a United 737 with super-fast internet, please mark the tail number and give us a holler.

Update: As of today, United's 737-900s with tail numbers N75425, N75435 and N38451 are equipped with ViaSat WiFi.

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