We know that for a lot of our customers – business and leisure alike – the ability to connect online while in flight plays an important role in choosing an airline. Having access to a reliable onboard connection is vital for our customers who need to finish up on work, check emails or stay connected throughout their entire journey.

United is an industry pioneer in offering satellite Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment (PDE), and we still have the largest fleet of satellite Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft worldwide. In particular, our Panasonic Wi-Fi product, which is the streaming service on many of our Airbus, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft, hasn't been as reliable as we would like, and we are taking this opportunity to do better by making investments to improve this experience for our customers. Here are a number of steps we are taking to do that:

  • More connection points - 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 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 January 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.
  • More bandwidth - 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.
  • More coverage - Panasonic is also adding satellites to its network, so our customers will benefit from better coverage, speed and bandwidth.

We are also working on improving our product in other ways and making additional changes that will help us provide the consistent, high-quality connectivity our customers expect. We look forward to offering these enhancements and sharing even more investments that will improve your customer experience.