Two of the largest Japanese airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) have announced plans to begin offering internet service via Wi-Fi on their international routes. Japan Airlines will begin their service, dubbed JAL SKY Wi-Fi, this summer, while ANA will introduce their Internet OnAir service in July of 2013. Allowing customers to connect to the internet just as they would with Wi-Fi on the ground, passengers will be able to use their mobile devices and laptop computers to browse the web.
JAL Sky Wi-Fi will be available to customers in all cabins, and will offer internet speeds comparable to what is offered on ground-level Wi-Fi networks. Beginning July 15th through September 30th, customers in first or executive class on flights offering the service will be able to receive a one-hour free trial. The regular pricing for all cabins starts at $11.95 for the first hour, or passengers can purchase 24 hours of usage for $21.95. Those who purchase the 24 hour block will have unlimited usage within the time limit, and can continue to use the service on connecting JAL flights that offer the Sky Wi-Fi system.
The pricing for ANA’s Internet OnAir has yet to be determined, but the airline has specified that the service will launch on 28 of its aircrafts used on international routes. An ANA spokesman explained that the carrier chose OnAir as their service provider over Panasonic Avionics. While ANA admits that Panasonic’s service offers higher speeds, it also requires a larger investment and heavier equipment. The airline took a survey of its passengers, asking what they would most like to use in-flight Wi-Fi for, and the largest responses were for activities like texting, emailing, and general browsing. As these activities don’t require as much bandwidth, ANA decided it didn’t need the additional performance offered by Panasonic, and chose to go with OnAir.