US Airways WiFi Announcement Is Not What You Think

What exactly would you think when you saw a press release entitled, “Get Connected with Complimentary Wi-Fi from US Airways“?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Sounds like US Airways is putting wireless internet onboard and offering it for free, right? Wow, the airline has really tried to jump the competition with this one. Er, um, wait a second. Maybe we should actually read the release.

US Airways is actually offering complimentary wireless internet in its airport clubs. That’s it. Oh. Well it’s a good benefit for sure, but I was somehow expecting more from that title. Now that Delta is working on beefing up the inflight entertainment options on Northwest, US Airways is sitting firmly in the rear of the industry when it comes to onboard customer offerings.

The airline still has not announced a single onboard wifi project. I believe that puts them in the same category as Allegiant, Spirit, Midwest, and the regional carriers. Every other US-based airline has announced at least a wifi test. So, just to make sure one more time that you’re not confused by the release, here is what US Airways is offering:

US Airways Free Wifi Availability

Things aren’t much different when it comes to other inflight entertainment options either. Remember that test with the Lumexis in-seat video system on a single aircraft? Well it performed flawlessly, but the airline has been silent on future plans. President Scott Kirby has made it clear that the airline won’t be installing inflight entertainment until it can obtain adequate financing. I guess that hasn’t become available yet.

This isn’t great news for Lumexis, but I wouldn’t worry about them. After 275 flights and 1,000 hours in operation on that one airplane, there wasn’t a single system failure. According to CEO Doug Cline, “We have never delayed a single flight and have never even required a system reboot.” Pretty impressive stuff, so even if US Airways doesn’t move forward, they very likely still have a bright future ahead with other airlines.

It will be interesting to see if US Airways sees any customers defect because of the airline’s lack of competitiveness in onboard offerings. If they do, they might need to make some quick adjustments. If they don’t, well, they might just end up looking like the smartest airline around. (My guess is that while it might look like the latter for a little while, eventually it will be the former.)

[Original photos via Flickr from runJMrun and marcoPapale.com]

11 Responses to US Airways WiFi Announcement Is Not What You Think

  1. US Airways is seeking the lowest common denominator of passenger – the ones that are only willing to pay the cheapest possible fare, hence their stock trading symbol LCC (Low Cost Carrier). US customers are not swayed into paying extra for IFE or food. As US has said before, they have asked passengers what they want and were told they want to arrive safely on time with their luggage. Therefore, they are targeting those three items: Safe, On-time, Luggage. And the rest (IFE, clean aircraft, comfortable aircraft, polite and presentable crew, Wi-Fi, etc.) is just not important at this time.

  2. CF says:

    Bruce – They’ve certainly been clear about their strategy, but some of the things they say don’t fit. Why bother to continue to talk about inflight entertainment and the desire to provide it for domestic flights if they don’t think people will pay for it? Clearly they see something there. BTW, LCC to me says that they want costs to be low, not fares. They aren’t calling themselves a Low Fare Carrier.

  3. David SFeastbay says:

    Maybe all the money earmarked for Lumexis went towards the cost of their Hudson River landing. Didn’t all the ships that helped want payment to cover their cost? Insurance will only go so far to cover things so US will need to come with a lot of money.

    Who knows, maybe they are just playing follow the leader and what ever Southwest does, they will do. Spending the money for Lumexis would not really help them compete out here in the West since flights are to short to really use the service and they need to spend money to keep more of their passengers from using WN.

  4. I can see it now, dozens of not-quite frequent flyers, hovering outside of the lounge, hoping to grab an overflow signal.

    LOL

  5. JM says:

    Gee, I am glad I don’t live in the Charlotte area anymore!

  6. This whole Wi-Fi deal is such a touchy issue for most carriers. Its even a touchy deal in the hotel industry. I’m waiting for the day when Wi-Fi is available for free during travel.

  7. cpa says:

    I live in rural Utah, in a small town without cell phone service, no broadcast TV since 2004 100 miles south of Salt Lake Inenational Airport and 30 miles west from Provo Municiple Airport but I pick up US Free WI Fi on my used Compaq laptop. It’s always at 3 bars. I also get HP Setup wifi signal this too at 3 bars strength but cannot connect to either.

    I’ve driven outside of town some 5 miles and still get these signals. Any reasonable answers on this?

  8. CF says:

    cpa – I have no explanation for that one. Strange.

  9. paul says:

    The real dope about US Airways is at this link
    http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=602

    It is a network virus. If you have this popping up everywhere it is in your computer and appears on your list of ‘available networks’ in order to spread itself. This is why it will pop up as an available network even you are no where near any broadcast point.It arrives at your computer via another infected computer within range of your wifi antennae. Delete from your menu post haste and every time thereafter when it pops up. The link lists several other similar viruses. HP Network is another to watch for not listed here.

  10. paul says:

    Correction on the last network. It’s HP Setup, not Network
    http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=602

  11. CF says:

    paul wrote:

    The real dope about US Airways is at this link
    http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=602

    Let’s be clear here. This has absolutely nothing to do with US Airways except someone is using the name to help spread the virus.

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