Cathay Pacific To Bring Lighting Fast Wi-Fi, Cellular Service To Planes

For heavy flyers, in-flight Wi-Fi is an asset that is very much appreciated. As is on-seat power ports and in-flight TVs. In other words, people love keeping themselves occupied while flying, as to avoid thinking about just how long they'll be seated in one place. In-flight entertainment has evolved over the years, but many planes are still holding back from really upgrading and giving people what they need in the sky: a live connection to the world below.

Less than half of the planes flying domestically in America right now are equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, and that's about to look even worse when compared to Asia's Cathay Pacific. The airline just recently revealed that they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the provision of full broadband connectivity on all Cathay Pacific and Dragonair passenger aircraft. They'll be using equipment from Panasonic Avionics in order to outfit their planes, and once the installations begin in early 2012, they'll be amongst the most connected planes in the sky.

The final terms of the deal are still being worked out, but the MOU allows the parties to immediately begin developing the plan to provide connectivity for passengers together with promotional, sponsorship and e-commerce opportunities for Cathay Pacific partner brands. When finished, Cathay's planes will have 50Mbps Wi-Fi throughout the cabin, which is far faster than what's in the homes of many Americans. There will also be lots of free and pay-per-view programming available to each passenger (not just first class), and GSM cellular service will allow people to call and text as if they were standing right beside a cell tower on the ground.

We can only hope that some of the North American carriers take notice and up their game in this department. Should we really have to fly to Asia to get on a connected flight?