Canada’s WestJet rolling out Panasonic inflight Wi-Fi

A WestJet aircraft in flight.WestJet says it has begun rolling out its new inflight entertainment system featuring wireless internet connectivity.

Called WestJet Connect, the system will be activated on all of WestJet’s Boeing 767ER aircraft and more than 30 per cent of WestJet’s Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft by the end of 2015, with installations on the majority of the 737 fleet expected to be completed in 2016.

Although WestJet didn’t name the provider, they later confirmed to “Get Connected” that it is Panasonic Avionics, with its Ku-band eXConnect and eXTV services.

Speaking at the 2015 Future Travel Experience conference in London, Dave Bruner, Panasonic’s VP Global Communication Services (GCS), had said WestJet would be rolling our inflight Wi-Fi in due course.

Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial, said: “The launch of WestJet Connect is an important next step in the evolution of our guest experience.

“Business travellers will appreciate internet connectivity with global reach that’s not limited to terrestrial towers over land; they have the opportunity to be constantly in contact anywhere in WestJet’s world.

“WestJet Connect is also a great solution for our leisure travellers. Personal electronic devices have become universal and our guests now have access to hundreds of movies and TV shows right to their own device, which will make travelling with the whole family a breeze. Also, our live television channels will enable business and leisure travellers to stay in touch with real-time business and other news.”

Mobile devices and tablets using either iOS or Android operating systems will need the latest version of the WestJet app prior to boarding.

Guests will also be able to access WestJet Connect using their laptops. Tablet rentals will be available on flights longer than three hours and 20 minutes for guests who do not have their own device.

The WestJet app will take guests to the WestJet Connect home page where they can begin accessing content. Seats on WestJet Connect-equipped aircraft have 110-volt and/or USB power outlets, allowing guests the opportunity to charge or power their devices.

The system’s internet connectivity will be available at an introductory price of $7.99 plus applicable taxes for the duration of each flight.

At launch, WestJet Connect will feature 85 movies and 329 TV programs, including expanded content in French. Content will be refreshed on a monthly basis and will be offered at no charge for an introductory period.

Once installation is complete, WestJet Connect will be available on all WestJet flights operated on Boeing Next-Generation 737s or 767ER aircraft.

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