JetBlue introduces fully-connected experience, gate to gate

A JetBlue Airbus A321 aircraft.
A JetBlue Airbus A321 aircraft.

US-based JetBlue is to introduce a fully-connected in-seat experience and other new features, as part of its Airbus A320 cabin restyling programme.

The restyled cabin will include a greater focus on inflight connectivity, comfort, and space.

A major focus of the new cabin will be keeping customers connected throughout their flight, including free gate-to-gate Fly-Fi high-speed Internet, a new Internet-enabled inflight entertainment system, high-definition seatback televisions, and in-seat power outlets with USB ports.

Jamie Perry, vice president brand and product development, said: “We launched JetBlue with a customer-focused experience that no one expected from an airline.

“Travel preferences have changed in the last 15 years, and we’re investing in what customers want today. Our new cabin, combined with our award-winning customer service, is a powerful way for us to once again challenge the status quo.”

On its fleet of 130 A320 aircraft, JetBlue will become the first domestic airline to launch an inflight entertainment system that connects the seat-back television to the aircraft’s Wi-Fi Internet inflight connectivity connection for customer use.

Thales and ViaSat

The new streaming television inflight entertainment system from Thales – STV+ – is built on the Google Android platform, opening possibilities for custom app and widget development, live content streaming, audio-and-video-on-demand, and personal device pairing to offer more entertainment options.

In addition to streaming content, JetBlue will expand the number of DirecTV television channels offered from 36 to more than 100, and will have the capability to offer a library of more than 300 on-demand Hollywood films and other content stored locally on the aircraft.

The experience will be delivered on a new 10-inch, high-definition touch screen at every seat – almost double the size of the screens today.

JetBlue will also enable gate-to-gate access to Fly-Fi – the airline’s free wireless high-speed Internet service powered by Thales and ViaSat.

JetBlue’s gate-to-gate connectivity

Fly-Fi delivers 12 to 20 Mbps to each connected device. With gate-to-gate connectivity, customers will be able to use high-speed Internet on their personal devices during takeoff and landing to surf or shop the web, post pictures to social media, email colleagues and friends, or connect to The Hub – JetBlue’s content portal – to access content and stream Amazon Video before the flight even leaves the ground.

“Our customers don’t want to switch off when they take off, so we are continuing to build on our investment in Fly-Fi,” Perry said.

“Flying JetBlue is more and more like being in your own home – with access to live television and high-speed Internet across multiple screens while relaxing in a comfortable seat with lots of space and all the snacks and soft drinks you want. What you can’t get at home is the award-winning service from our friendly crew members.”

JetBlue and Airbus will add the new Space Flex v2 and seating configuration to all-core A321 aircraft in the second half of 2016. The A320 restyling will begin in early 2017 with completion targeted for 2019.

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