Continental Becomes the Last Legacy to Announce Wifi Plans

Continental has announced that it is finally getting into the wifi game by installing wifi on its 757-300 fleet. That makes them the last major to announce wifi plans, and I think this move is interesting for a few reasons.

We all know that Delta and American are well into their wifi rollouts. United is doing a limited test on its p.s. fleet which flies between JFK and LA and San Francisco. And even US Airways has announced wifi plans for its A321 fleet. So what took Continental so long?

Remember, Continental opted for the LiveTV product on much of its fleet, including the 757-300. I was wondering if they were holding out for a LiveTV broadband option, but clearly that’s not the case. I assume this means they’re unsatisfied with LiveTV’s narrowband product (which offers email and a couple websites but that’s it) now that they have broadband coming into place. LiveTV must be watching closely.

It’s also interesting to me that they’ve chosen the 757-300 for wifi. It’s the 737s that tend to do most of the long haul domestic flying, so I would have thought that would have been a better fleet for this. Maybe the fact that this is a smaller fleet makes this a better test fleet in their eyes.

This to me also signals that the 737 will remain the airplane of choice for Hawai’i. There is no GoGo internet service over the water, so if they were planning on having these planes fly to Hawai’i, they probably wouldn’t bother installing this.

I always thought of the 757-300 as a Florida airplane. It can hold so many people that it actually can squeak out a living by carrying snowbirds down to the swamp for the winter, even on those cheap fares. But those aren’t the demographic that Continental would want to target with its wifi product. It’s the business travelers that benefit the most. So I find myself wondering what Continental is planning to do with this fleet.

Do they have something up their sleeve?

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13 Responses to Continental Becomes the Last Legacy to Announce Wifi Plans

  1. Mary Kirby says:

    Cranky,
    Continental is also going to test LiveTV’s “free” Kiteline email service at the same time (on the 737-900ERs already equipped with LiveTV). A true test of Wi-Fi models.

  2. A says:

    I’ve heard that in-the-sky wi-fi is agonizingly slow. Possibly read that here. If so, what’s the point of getting onto the web? In all honesty, as a business traveler I’d bet most people would only request they be able to access their Blackberries throughout the flight. For leisure travel I’d be fine with LiveTV or some other type of IFE system, some time away from the Internet never hurts…

    Hate to take from the old NWA playbook, but I doubt wi-fi is selling any additional tickets so why bother playing keepup?

  3. @A

    I used GoGo on American when they first rolled it out. Of course, being the geek that I am, one of the first sites I hit was the CNET Bandwidth test. Throughput was about 580 kbps — right between slow DSL and fast DSL. It’s certainly fast enough to do some decent surfing. I was pretty impressed, considering that we were at 33,000 feet.

    We are just about married to AA, so in that regard, WiFi isn’t selling any additional tickets for us. Elite status is. However, it’s really nice to have on a long flight. While I’d prefer the isolation of a few hours when I’m on a flight, I won my own business and there are times when that’s not ideal. Sometimes I don’t mind being in touch in the air for some of my larger clients on time sensitive projects that *could* wait until I land but it’s better if I don’t.

    And when the inflight movie sucks, there’s YouTube or Zynga Poker.

    =M=

  4. David SFeastbay says:

    Is it time for your readers in Florida to get on your case for calling them a ‘swamp’…….lol

  5. CF says:

    Mary Kirby wrote:

    Continental is also going to test LiveTV’s “free” Kiteline email service at the same time (on the 737-900ERs already equipped with LiveTV). A true test of Wi-Fi models.

    Thanks, Mary. And for those readers who are interested, here is Mary’s piece:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/12/16/336278/continentals-new-gogo-deal-to-help-carrier-define-future-wi-fi.html

    David SFeastbay wrote:

    Is it time for your readers in Florida to get on your case for calling them a ’swamp’…….lol

    They can get on my case all they want – it is a swamp!

  6. enplaned says:

    CO has used 757-300s to LAS extensively, from all of CLE, EWR and IAH.

    Looking at July 2010, CO is showing nothing but 737-800s on their flights to LAS from all three hubs.

    Smelling a rat, I pulled all 757-300 flights in July, 2010, and found only five (whereas there were over 120 — some less than daily — in July 2009).

    So, here’s my hypothesis: CO is putting most/many flights out there as “737-800”. Closer to the date, it will figure out whether it will actually run them as a 738, 739, 752 or 753.

  7. Marty Near DFW wrote:

    one of the first sites I hit was the CNET Bandwidth test. Throughput was about 580 kbps — right between slow DSL and fast DSL.

    Thats actually pretty slow DSL. I work in the DSL business and the slowest we sell anymore is about 1200 kbps. and we’ll go upto 15,000 kbps. That being said 580 kbps is definitely serviceable and well above modem speeds..

  8. gsutiger2 says:

    I refuse to pay the $8 for live TV on Continental. I like Continental but they will not get that much out of me for TV.

  9. FT Lurker says:

    gsutiger2 wrote:

    I refuse to pay the $8 for live TV on Continental. I like Continental but they will not get that much out of me for TV.

    It’s actually $6 for LiveTV in coach and free for first class.

  10. Keagan says:

    I think Continental should have started with the 757-200s first with WI-FI. These aircraft are used on transatlantic flights such as Newark through Lisbon, Shannon, and London. The 753s are mainly used between Las Vegas and Houston as well as Newark, which is considered short-haul compared to the other flights.

    The 752s would have been better Continental!

  11. Mark says:

    I would post this on my own site, but we don’t have that many US readers right now. Will probably be move valuable here. Free Gogo inflight wifi coupons:

    Delta: DELTATRYGOGO
    AirTran: AIRTRANTRYGOGO
    American Airlines: AATRYGOGO

  12. CF says:

    Keagan wrote:

    I think Continental should have started with the 757-200s first with WI-FI. These aircraft are used on transatlantic flights such as Newark through Lisbon, Shannon, and London.

    AirCell’s service is land-based, so it only works over the US.

  13. Mark says:

    CF wrote:

    nental should have started with the 757-200s first with WI-FI. These aircraft are used on transatlantic flights such as Newark through Lisbon, Shann

    Services also require individual regulatory approval from every country the aircraft flies over. In the US this is just one, but Europe has a lot of small countries!

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