JetBlue Buys Verizon’s Airfone Network
In a move to boost passenger incentives, JetBlue’s LiveTV division has agreed to purchase Verizon Communication’s Airfone Network for an undisclosed price.
LiveTV is already being used to provide passengers with satellite-based TV programming, but adding Airfone to its entourage will enable in-flight email and messaging services.
Airfone does own 100 air-to-ground communications towers in the lower 48 states, and has already been testing the service on one of its planes. Anyone with WiFi-enabled laptops could access the service, which enables checking email and shopping on Amazon.com.
Just because JetBlue will be purchasing the service does not mean it will only be offered on JetBlue planes. Continental, for example, has signed an agreement to use LiveTV on their planes. LiveTV is still determining whether the Airfone service will be free or available with a small fee.
There is no anticipated date of install for the JetBlue planes, but so far they are happy with the tests they have run. This service will be a great compromise for those who want increased communication while on the plane, and those who don’t want passengers to be able to use cell phones in the air.