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Thursday, September 15, 2011

JAL to offer inflight Wi-Fi on international flights from mid 2012


JAL (Japan Airlines) inflight internet service through eXConnect
How does JAL Inflight Internet Service by eXConnect work? (Picture Source: JAL Press Release)


Japan Airlines (JAL) has just announced its plan to offer high-speed internet connection through Wi-Fi on its international flights from mid-2012. JAL has picked the the "eXConnect" technology from Panasonic Avionics, which is a satellite based technology.
JAL will first install eXConnect service on its Boeing 777 fleet and provide inflight internet service on its Japan-US and Japan-Europe routes (pending Russian government approval for providing this when aircraft is in Russian airspace). The fee is still TBD at this point and will be announced next spring. It will make use of the satellite connection from the plane and route your traffic to the ground receiver, which will then go to get the information you want and send it back to you through the same means. It will support any Wi-Fi enabled device. You can use your iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pros, etc to check your emails, blog about your flight live from 30,000 feet, or visit your favorite JAL blog (*hint hint :p) while enjoying the excellent service provided by JAL :D


Note that this is not the first time inflight internet access is introduced on JAL flights. Back in 2003, JAL signed up to be the Asian launch customer of the inflight internet service provided by Connexion by Boeing. JAL first rolled out the service called JAL SkyOnline to its Tokyo-London flights on December 9 2004. Later on introduced this to Tokyo-New York flights on May 10 2005 and become the world's first carrier to provide such service on transpacific flights. Back then, JAL provides different 2 pricing options which include an unlimited plan for USD29.95 and a USD 9.95 plan for 30 minutes of internet access with 25 cents per minute thereafter. However, JAL also provides an inflight portal which you can access for free. The inflight portal contains news and weather info, and of course JAL products and services :) However, JAL discontinued this service on December 29 2006 because Boeing of shutting down Connexion.
So are you excited about the return of inflight internet service? It will definitely be a reasonable price if JAL keeps the 29.95 price tag for unlimited connection. Can't wait for that to introduce on my flights and wait for my live JAL trip report from 30,000 feet :p For more details, you can refer to JAL Press Release (Japanese, English) For more information of the old JAL SkyOnline service, you can refer to the following sources.
JAL Press Releases:
Boeing Press Release:
JCAST Business News:

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