Viasat and United Airlines deliver high-speed connectivity to passengers

Viasat, the global satellite company, has entered into a contract to deliver next-gen internet connectivity to a fleet of United Airlines (UAL) aircraft.

Viasat’s latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system will be rolled out to more than 70 aircraft, including at least 58 of United's new Boeing 737MAX aircraft.

"We're pleased to expand our relationship with United, now providing direct internet and entertainment services to them and their customers. We're focused on optimizing customer satisfaction through great connectivity and entertainment. Our goal is to ensure United's customers are fully connected and enjoying their on-board connectivity and entertainment experiences," Don Buchman, vice president and general manager of commercial aviation at Viasat.

Under the new agreement Viasat will act as the new direct in-flight internet service provider for UAL and by deploying its IFEC system users will have access to fast, reliable internet connectivity allowing them to access their favorite websites or connect with key business applications such as a corporate VPN and secure email.

The Viasat IFEC system will also power UAL’s private screening entertainment option, which gives customers access to hundreds of entertainment titles from its on-board library directly to their own devices.

On the backend United will tap into Viasat’s high-capacity Ka-band satellite system, which includes the ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms. These ‘capacity rich’ platforms enable Viasat to provide fast, high-quality in-flight service to all connected devices on the aircraft.

The ViaSat-2 was deployed in June 2017, and claimed that it was the most powerful broadband satellite ever. It was launched aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center, located in Kourou, French Guiana. It was designed to offer high-capacity connectivity and wide coverage across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a portion of northern South America, as well as the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.

UAL will begin installing Viasat’s IFEC system on its airframes over the coming months, in a move the company says underpins its commitment to the customer experience.