United Continental Holdings, Inc. is about to take on Delta, Virgin America and JetBlue in a major way. Despite being later than some to the in-flight Wi-Fi game, the merged United and Continental partnership will soon sprout internet in the skies. Panasonic Avionics Corporation has been chosen to provide Wi-Fi connectivity on more than 300 United Airlines and Continental Airlines mainline aircraft beginning in mid-2012. Panasonic
's Ku-band satellite technology offers faster speed than air-to-ground technology (ATG) and will provide connectivity on flights worldwide. The system will also enable wireless streaming of video content.
United Continental Holdings expects to install the Panasonic system on Airbus 319 and 320 and Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Customers will be able to use their wireless devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets onboard those aircraft to connect with internet service using the in-flight hotspot.
United Continental Holdings expects the entire mainline fleet will be equipped with Wi-Fi by 2015. Continental Airlines previously announced plans to install satellite-based Wi-Fi on more than 200 DIRECTV-equipped aircraft beginning in 2012.