United Airlines adds WiFi to international flights

The skies are becoming much more friendly to WiFi connectivity, with United Airlines adding wireless to to its international aircraft and letting you stay online while you travel overseas.

“Satellite-based WiFi service enables us to better serve our customers and offer them more of what they want in a global airline,” said United’s Jim Compton, Vice Chairman and Chief Revenue Officer. “With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly.”

Airplane mode won’t be as much of a requirement for flying as laptops, smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, and anything else with WiFi in it will be able to connect to United’s wireless hotspot technology, provided they’re willing to pay for it.

Two pricing options will be available for United’s wireless – no free WiFi for you – with pricing available between $3.99 and $14.99 for “standard” speeds, while the “accelerated” faster speeds will come in priced between $5.99 and $19.99, with the pricing based on how long the flight is.

United hasn’t yet told us what the difference between its “standard” and “accelerated” wireless speeds are, but does mention in its FAQ on the topic that “actual speeds may vary based on several factors, including number of connections,” so it’s possible that even if you purchase the faster accelerated option, if everyone else follows with the same purchase, your speed could be closer to what standard is.

Regardless, the service is currently operational on at least one United 747 flight serving trans-Pacific (Australia, for instance) and trans-Atlantic routes, and will be installed across much of United’s fleet moving forward.