If you’ve ever used wi-fi internet onboard a United flight, you know that it often is frustratingly slow. Thankfully, United has noticed as well and promised swift improvements in the months to come.
In a letter to employees, Chief Operating Officer Greg Hart outlined a three-step plan to improve in-flight wifi.
- We are working with Panasonic to improve the quality of the Wireless Access Points (WAPs) on all of our Panasonic aircraft. These devices connect the user with the Wi-Fi and PDE [Personal Device Entertainment] on the aircraft.
- More and better WAPs mean more customers can tap into a strong, steady connection at the same time.
- Earlier this month, we completed WAP upgrades on our domestic Boeing 777s, boosting available capacity by 130 percent per flight, and we expect to finish these modifications to our Airbus fleets by February 2018 and all other Panasonic aircraft by May.
- Our initial experience on the 777 aircraft has been very promising with a 38 percent increase in Wi-Fi purchases on an average flight and 13 point increase in Wi-Fi customer satisfaction.
- We are also installing new broadband controllers on all the aircraft.
- These units connect the aircraft to the satellite network and will largely solve the outage issues we experience on our Panasonic fleets.
- In addition, the controllers will also increase throughput by over 20 times and allow for much quicker connection speeds.
- Panasonic is also adding satellites to its network, so our customers will benefit from better coverage, speed and bandwidth.
For those hoping to read that United would install industry-leading fiber-optic internet, well…I’m disappointed too. But maybe one day.
For now, this should help improve the oft-slow speeds that plague onboard wi-fi both domestically and internationally. Any incremental improvement will be appreciated from someone like me who flies so much on United and always connects to the internet.