Companies lead North
America as first to receive this type of Federal Aviation Administration
onboard Wi-Fi access will be available to customers will be determined
in the coming months
Chicago, June 6, 2005
– United and Verizon Airfone have just become the first companies
to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to install the
necessary cabin equipment to enable passenger and crew use of wireless
technology (Wi-Fi) devices on board a U.S. domestic commercial aircraft
"Our research shows that
connecting to the Internet is customers' most preferred form of
communication to the ground, and this certification is a crucial step to
bring this inflight wireless access to our customers," said Dennis Cary,
United's senior vice president-Marketing. "We are thrilled by this
accomplishment and proud to lead the industry in North America with
Verizon Airfone in this endeavor."
The approval was granted
after the two companies successfully demonstrated that the usage of
802.11 b/g wireless technology within the cabin does not affect the
aircraft's operation. Most laptop computers sold today are equipped
with the wireless 802.11 b/g standard.
The certification is a
welcome business development for both companies, as they have worked in
conjunction for more than a year, including months of preparation and
testing for safety and functionality, to obtain FAA approval for this
service. The approval currently applies to the cabin of United's
B757-200 aircraft, as it was used to test the technology, and is part of
a larger strategy to enable high-speed wireless Internet access on board
all United aircraft.
"Our wireless broadband
system will require only the addition of an avionics box, a wireless
access point and a directional antenna, making it the faster and more
affordable choice for United and its passengers," said Bill Pallone,
president, Verizon Airfone.
The date that customers
may begin using Wi-Fi devices on United ultimately will be determined by
the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) scheduled "Air-to-Ground"
spectrum auction to be held in the coming months, where service rights
and range of frequencies will be awarded to one or more providers for
onboard passenger access to the Internet. Once a service provider is
selected by the FCC, United is positioned to act quickly to bring this
service to customers.
Verizon Airfone currently
provides voice services on United's U.S. domestic flights and JetConnectSM
Messaging services on United's p.s. flights. Airfone handsets will
remain on board across United's fleet for customer use. At
this point, JetConnect Messaging services will remain on United's p.s.
United Airlines (OTCBB:
UALAQ.OB) is the world's second largest airline, operating more
than 3,400 flights a day on United, United Express and Ted to more than
200 U.S. domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. With key
global air rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Latin America,
United is the largest international carrier based in the United States.*
United is also a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides
connections for our customers to nearly 800 destinations in 139
countries worldwide. United's 60,000 employees reside in every U.S.
state and in many countries around the world. News releases and other
information about United can be found at the company's Web site at
revenue passenger miles as reported to the U.S. Department of
Transportation for 12 months ending September 2004, the most recent
comparison data available.
Verizon Airfone, a
subsidiary of Verizon Communications, has been leading the inflight
communications industry for 20 years. Serving both the commercial
airline and general aviation markets, Verizon Airfone was the first to
provide passengers with wireless roaming, email, instant messaging, text
messaging and voice services. Airfone® Service for Verizon
Wireless which lets Verizon Wireless subscribers route their cellular
calls directly to the Airfone® handset and bill Airfone
charges to their Verizon Wireless account.
# # #