From the Control Tower
Fast and free wifi eventually continues to be the name of the game, but lots of paid, slower options in the interim. And the airlines are particularly sensitive to the idea that their executives believe it will be free to passengers given that business and technical plans often have come up short so far.
Plus some fun bits on route maps, seats and more!
Virgin Atlantic see free WiFi on the horizon, seeks better selling opportunities in the interim
Virgin Atlantic reiterated its expectation that in-flight WiFi connectivity will eventually be free to passengers. But don't expect that in the immediate future. The company is much more focused today on improving the paid take rates than transitioning to a free model.
Global Eagle sees a refreshed 2021 with updated Gilat transceiver and more
In-flight connectivity performance should get a bit better in the coming months for some Global Eagle customers thanks to an improved on-board transceiver. The Aerostream 40Ku, developed by Gilat, achieved DO-160G certification this week, allowing for development of production units as it moves towards FAA certification and aircraft installation.
Alaska Airlines’ 737 MAX takes flight, without WiFi
Alaska Airlines is the latest member of the 737MAX family, operating its first commercial flights with they type today. But passengers on board faced a bit of a surprise: No WiFi active on the newest plane in the fleet.
Alaska Airlines extends Recaro partnership for 737 MAX seating
As the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX fleet expands passengers can expect familiarity on board. The carrier will keep the interior common to the existing fleet, extending its partnership with seating supplier Recaro into the latest tranche of deliveries.
Other Industry News
Icelandair flies to Antarctica
How do you plan a trip to land on an ice runway in one of the most remote parts of the world? Icelandair put a 767-300ER on the ground at Antarctica's Troll Research Station last week and it is a pretty awesome story.
Southwest Airlines adds more South Carolina, Oregon and Washington state to its destination map
Southwest Airlines announced another three new destinations this week, bringing the total to 17 new destinations since the pandemic began. It is the most aggressive expansion in the company's 50-year history.
ATPCO adds testing, vaccine requirements to flight search results
Airlines and online travel agencies can now quickly and easily inform passengers of destinations' COVID-19 testing requirements inline as part of flight searches. The new data distributed by industry stalwart ATPCO provides clear details about which countries and airlines require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure and if vaccination is required to enter a country.
More MAX for United Airlines
United Airlines will grow its 737 MAX fleet significantly in the next three years. The company announced a deal to increase the order book with Boeing by 25, with delivery slated for 2023. Additional adjustments to the order book should see a total of 90 new MAX join the carrier's fleet by the end of 2023.