A collaboration between airlines and internet service providers has come together to improve in-flight Wi-Fi.
They have created a modular system of hardware and software that can be rapidly upgraded as better, faster wireless options emerge.
Solving the in-flight Wi-Fi problem for airlines and passengers
Travelers frequently complain that the Wi-Fi on their flights is slow and unreliable. But airlines have a problem too: the equipment from internet service providers installed on planes can’t be easily upgraded when passengers are unhappy about the quality of the service.
The Seamless Air Alliance, a group of 29 companies, developed what it hopes will be a solution for both problems. Its newly-created standard, called Seamless Release 1.0, is a modular system built on open interfaces. The goal is something that can be installed on a plane and easily upgraded.
“Passenger demands for inflight connectivity are still ahead of the performance of systems putting increasing pressure on airlines to find a way to meet these expectations and gain passenger loyalty,” said Jack Mandala, Seamless Air Alliance CEO. “Seamless Release 1.0 changes the game by enabling airlines to take advantage of new capacity and innovations faster and more cost-effectively than ever before.”
To be clear, the Alliance isn’t proposing any changes that will lead to immediate improvements to in-flight Wi-Fi. Instead, is aims make it simpler and cheaper for airlines to upgrade their on-plane systems. And, just as importantly, more easily switch between internet providers if one offers faster service than another.
Members of this trade group include companies with the power to start bringing about these changes. Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Boingo are on the list. But adoption of this new standard is hardly universal, with names like United Airlines and Gogo noticeably absent from participants.