JetBlue Will Fly With Wi-Fi in 2012

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JetBlue (Stock Quote: JBLU) has finally decided to get on board with in-flight Wi-Fi.

The company announced today it plans to introduce satellite-based wireless connectivity for travelers starting in 2012. Despite boasting various in-flight entertainment options, Wi-Fi has been conspicuously absent from JetBlue’s list of amenities, even as a multitude of other airlines have begun offering the service on some or all of their flights. (JetBlue’s sole foray into in-flight connectivity was a program called BetaBlue, which was tested on a single Airbus.)

While JetBlue is late to the Wi-Fi game, the company promises that its offering will be worth the wait. Unlike airlines which offers broadband from signals which originate on the ground, JetBlue’s signal will come from above, via the ViaSat-1 satellite which is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2011. This is in contrast with the majority of airlines that use Gogo Inflight Internet, a service that relies on a mobile broadband network of ground towers.

“Their satellite… will create a generational leap in connectivity, bringing our Customers exponentially more bandwidth than any product in commercial aviation today,” wrote the airline on their official blog. The company did not give a specific release date or provide price points for the service.

What if you want to use the Internet on a plane before 2012? Which airline should you fly? Here’s a roundup of which airlines offer the ability to surf in the friendly skies.

DELTA

Delta offers Wi-Fi on more than 2,000 flights a day through Gogo.

Price: Gogo rates are as follows:

$4.95 for a single flight up to 1.5 hours

$9.95 for a single flight between 1.5 and 3 hours

$12.95 for a single flight for 3+ hours

$11 (online) for 24-hour pass

$29.95 30-day pass

$34.95 monthly unlimited Internet ($19.95 for the first month)

VIRGIN AMERICA

Virgin offers Gogo Wi-Fi on its entire fleet.

Price: Rates run from $5.95 for flights less than 1.5 hours to $34.95 for a monthly pass.

UNITED

The airline offers Gogo internet for premium service transcontinental flights between New York and both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Price: Rates run from $4.95 for flights less than 1.5 hours to $34.95 for a monthly pass.

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Gogo wireless is available on select flights. and passengers can find out in advance if their flight has access by checking the airline’s website or Facebook page.

Price: Rates run from $4.95 for flights less than 1.5 hours to $34.95 for a monthly pass.

AIRTRAN

One of the few airlines to offer Wi-Fi on every flight, AirTran also uses Gogo.

Price: Rates run from $4.95 for flights less than 1.5 hours to $34.95 for a monthly pass.

ALASKA AIRLINES

The airline has Gogo internet on many of its routes, and plans to have access on all of its flights by the end of the year.

Price: Rates run from $4.95 for flights less than 1.5 hours to $34.95 for a monthly pass.

SOUTHWEST

Wi-Fi is available on a limited number of flights. There are no power outlets onboard to charge your laptop, so make sure you’ve got a good battery.

Price: Rates ranges from $2-$12 for each leg of your trip.

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