If you're flying JetBlue anywhere except shorter routes on the East Coast and Midwest, I have good news for you. Your aircraft likely will have Internet.
Jamie Perry, JetBlue's vice president for brand & product development, gave me an update on the airline's progress this week. Here is it is:
Airbus A321s: All have the airline's Fly-Fi Internet product
Airbus A320s: JetBlue is 90% finished adding Internet. It will complete the project by Labor Day, Perry said.
Embraer E190s: JetBlue hasn't yet started conversions on its 60 E190s but plans to start soon. The good news for anyone living in the West Coast of the U.S. is that we don't see any E190s out here. They're mostly in Boston and New York.
JetBlue was the first big airline to make a major investment in satellite internet - most competitors started earlier but have air-to-ground systems that rely on cell phone towers - and while that did not always seem like a smart move, it appears to be paying off. You probably saw that earlier this week JetBlue announced a new partnership with Major League Baseball that will allow passengers to stream every game on their own devices. That would be impossible on the current generation Gogo systems now used by American, Delta and Virgin America.
I asked Perry if he has any concerns about JetBlue's platform being able to support so much streaming. He predicted there will be no issues. "Fly Fi has the bandwidth and capacity," he said.
You can expect most airlines to move to a satellite model soon, though I doubt others will provide as much bandwidth or content for free as JetBlue As many of you know, Virgin America recently announced it would add satellite internet to 10 aircraft. Virgin America has signaled it will charge for the service.
"It was a lonely path for a number of years," Perry said, speaking about airlines with satellite systems. "But a high bandwidth model is the future."