CBS News Logo Alaska Airlines To Test In-Flight WiFi

There have been several moves across the industry to offer passengers Internet access while they're traveling. Seattle-based Alaska plans to install Westlake Village, Calif.-based Row 44 Inc.'s broadband service on one Boeing 737 jet next spring. Row 44's system is designed to work over water and across international borders. Alaska Airlines said the service is intended to work on all its routes, which include flights within the lower 48 states and to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. If it works, Alaska may add the service to all 114 of its aircraft. Customers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as laptops or smart phones, will connect to the system through wireless hotspots in the aircraft cabin. A dome-shaped device mounted on top of the plane will house the antenna that receives and transmits satellite signals. Alaska Airlines, the nation's ninth-largest carrier, is researching various pricing options, spokeswoman Amanda Tobin Bielawski said. American Airlines announced last month that it would test a high-speed air-to-ground Internet service on some of its Boeing 767 jets. For that system, AirCell LLC said it would build cellular towers throughout the continental United States to transmit the broadband signals. AirCell said American will charge a fee, and that details on pricing would not be announced until the service is ready to roll out. About a year ago, Boeing Co. pulled the plug on a planned in-flight Internet service after it failed to sign on enough airlines. Called Connexion by Boeing, it offered high-speed in-flight Internet hookups via satellite that cost $10 for the first hour and $27 for 24 hours. First announced in April 2000, Connexion suffered a major setback with potential U.S. airlines after the 2001 terrorist attacks triggered an industrywide downturn. Continue Reading

American Airlines Group (AAL) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Image source: The Motley Fool. American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Jan. 25, 2018 8:30 a.m. ET Contents: Prepared Remarks Questions and Answers Call Participants Prepared Remarks: Operator Please stand by, we're about to begin. Good morning and welcome to the American Airlines Group Fourth-Quarter 2017 Earnings Call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time all lines are in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. To signal for a question or comment during that time, please press *1 on your telephone keypad. And now, I'd like to turn the conference over to your moderator, Managing Director of Investor Relations Mr. Dan Cravens. Please go ahead, sir. Dan Cravens -- Managing Director of Investor Relations Thanks, Alan, and good morning, everyone, and welcome to the American Airlines Group fourth-quarter 2017 earnings conference call. In the room with us this morning is Doug Parker, our chairman and CEO; Robert Isom, president; and Derek Kerr, our chief financial officer. Also in the room with us for our Q&A session is Elise Eberwein, our EVP of people and communications; Maya Leibman, our chief information officer; Steve Johnson, our EVP of corporate affairs; and Don Casey, our senior vice president of revenue management. We're going to start the call today with Doug, and he'll provide an overview of financial results. Derek will then walk us through the details on the fourth quarter and provide some additional information on our 2018 guidance. Robert will then follow with commentary on the operational performance and revenue environment. And then after we hear from those comments, we'll open the call for analysts' questions and, lastly, questions from the media. To get in as many questions as possible, please limit yourself to one question and a follow-up. 10 stocks we like better than American Airlines Group When investing geniuses David Continue Reading

United Airlines tweets Indians-Yankees updates to unlucky flyer with bad WiFi

United is usually on the receiving end of the type of social media beating Joe Girardi is taking right now. But in an even more unlikely scenario than the Yankees blowing an 8-3 lead in large part due to the Yankees manager's replay blunder, is the positive buzz around the airline Saturday morning. A Twitter exchange between a stuck-on-an-airplane Indians fan and United's customer service is going viral in the wake of the Indians' 9-8, 13th-inning Game 2 win. When an Indians fan tweeted at United: "my WiFi dont seem to work text and tweet only and I'm missing indians box score ... Any tips to help or can u please tweet me updates :)" United jumped into action. "We're sorry for the poor internet today, Blake. The score is 2-3, with the Indians in the lead. Top of the 3rd right now." An hour later the unfortunate flyer tried again: "What about now." "We have your back. Now it's 6-3, Yankees. Bottom of the 4th." The exchange eventually included United breaking the news that Franciso Lindor smashed a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth as the Indians sliced the Bombers' lead to 8-7. It was in that inning that Girardi failed to challenge a hit-by-pitch ruling on what appeared to be a foul tip that would have ended the inning. Instead, Lindor took advantage of the bases-loaded opportunity and the Tribe went on to rally past the Yankees to grab a 2-0 lead in the ALDS. Girardi probably wishes his WiFi would go down right about now. Continue Reading

U.S. regulatory scrutiny scuppers deal for unit of China’s HNA

By Sumeet Chatterjee and Diane Bartz HONG KONG/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - HNA Group Co Ltd's $416 million investment in U.S. in-flight services firm Global Eagle Entertainment Inc has been abandoned after failing to clear a U.S. national security panel, adding to uncertainty over Chinese deals with U.S. companies. HNA still awaits U.S. government approval for another deal, agreed in January, to buy a majority stake in hedge fund investment firm SkyBridge Capital LLC from Anthony Scaramucci, U.S. President Donald Trump's new communications director. Global Eagle said in a securities filing late Tuesday that the deal was canceled because the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had not completed its national security review by a so-called "outside date" agreed in its deal with HNA. Global Eagle's share price closed down 11 percent at $2.98 on Nasdaq. Global Eagle and HNA did not elaborate on the reasons for the regulatory rejection, but a source familiar with the matter said that the protection of customer data passed on through Global Eagle's WiFi service was a major area of concern for CFIUS. "Anytime you do anything with a communication system, there's always additional caution," said James Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who followed the deal but was not involved in it. CFIUS, which assesses international acquisitions for potential national security risks, has objected to a historically high number of deals this year, people familiar with the matter told Reuters last week. The more conservative stance under U.S. President Donald Trump coincides with growing political and economic tension between the United States and China. At the same time, China's government is increasingly scrutinizing banking relationships and aggressive overseas deal-making of some large conglomerates as it looks to stem the flow of capital leaving the country. NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS HNA unit Continue Reading

Airline passengers can pay for in-flight Wi-Fi on Amazon

In-flight internet provider Gogo has teamed up with Amazon in a partnership that will allow users to pay for their online sessions using their Amazon accounts. The move is meant to save users from having to re-enter payment information and billing addresses by using the information stored in their Amazon accounts to pay for the service securely. After launching their internet browser, users will be presented with an “Pay with Amazon” icon. The service is being made available on laptops, tablets and mobile devices. The in-flight Wifi service is available on carriers such as American Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Virgin America. Connectivity passes with Gogo range from US$14 to $50. Continue Reading

Holiday fliers: Surf Facebook for free on these 7 airlines

Passengers on seven of North America's biggest airlines will be able to browse Facebook for free during their flights around the Christmas holiday.In-flight Wi-Fi provider GoGo is partnering with Charmin to offer the promotion on Wi-Fi enabled flights from Dec. 23 through Dec. 30. The airlines that have GoGo in-flight WiFi and that will be participating in the promotion are AirTran, American, Alaska Air, Delta, Frontier, United and US Airways.In-flight Wi-Fi, of course, is not free. But passengers flying those airlines during the promotion period will be able to navigate to the GoGo log-in page, where they'll be notified that Charmin is offering a free browsing session on Facebook only. TWITTER: You can follow me at Continue Reading

American Airlines to offer in-flight streaming of movies, TV shows via ‘Entertainment on Demand’

American Airlines has announced an in-flight streaming service which allows passengers to view content from an onboard video library on their laptops.The service, confirmed August 3, marks the first time that North American passengers have been able to wirelessly stream content directly to their own screens, rather than a seat-back display.The system allows users to log on and browse over 100 popular movies and television shows through a portal, paying for the shows which they wish to watch using a credit or debit card.Users will pay an introductory price of $0.99 per television show and $3.99 per movie, American Airlines said.Interestingly, the shows will also be available to watch after the passenger has landed -- films for the next 24 hours and TV shows for the next 72 hours -- ensuring that there's no chance of missing the end of a blockbuster because the aircraft is beginning its descent.At present, the option is available across 15 of American Airlines' Boeing 767-200 aircraft, although it is set to roll out the product on all Wi-Fi enabled aircraft later this year, as well as broadening the service so that more devices (including tablets) can use it -- the carrier says that only "select personal Wi-Fi- enabled laptops" are compatible at the moment.Although the service is provided by Gogo, which powers WiFi for American and competitors such as Delta, United and US Airways, consumers don't need to purchase a WiFi connection to use it. AFP/Relaxnews Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Now showing: What to expect for entertainment on your summer flights

Delta Air Lines made a big splash this month when it announced that in-flight movies, TV shows and other entertainment will be free beginning July 1.The airline, which offers entertainment on 90 percent of its planes, has been charging $6 for movies and $1 per episode of HBO and other television shows."The only thing better than operating the world's largest in-flight entertainment-equipped fleet is providing it free to all our guests,'' Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement announcing the news.RELATED: American Airlines making more frequent flier changes | 7 steps to help you avoid jet lagPassengers will still have to pay for Internet service but Wi-Fi isn't required to access the free entertainment.The entertainment options, outlined at, vary by plane and route. More than 400 Delta planes have seat-back entertainment systems and another 1,000 offer streaming through passengers' laptops, smartphones and tablets.Delta says it's the only U.S. airline to offer all in-flight entertainment for free, but that doesn't mean passengers on other carriers have to pull out a credit card every time they want to watch something. Most major airlines offer some free content in addition to movies and shows for purchase. Flying overseas? Movies and shows are usually free on international flights.Here's a roundup of in-flight entertainment on the two carriers that dominate Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as well as links to other airlines' offerings. Charge your devices (and bring backup power for longer flights) before you get to the airport so you're not scrambling to find a charging station.American:  The busiest carrier at Sky Harbor with 300 daily non-stop flights, it offers 40 free movies and 64 free TV shows plus music and games on domestic flights with seat-back screens. Additional movies and shows, including HBO and Showtime series, Continue Reading

Delta hooks up regional jets as in-flight WiFi booms

Delta flyers can log on while in the air. The first WiFi-equipped flight was a Bombardier CRJ200 between Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and White Plains, NY this week, the carrier said in a statement.The service will be introduced on other Delta Connection jets by early next year, including shuttles between New York-LaGuardia and Boston, Chicago-O'Hare and Washington, DC.Although Delta already boasts some 550 mainline aircraft hooked up to WiFi, the decision to equip its fleet of two-class regional jets underscores the rapidly-growing popularity of the technology.Although easy connectivity has pushed US carriers such as Delta, Virgin America, American Airlines and United Airlines to invest heavily in equipping their planes with WiFi, it's also a trend that's rapidly catching on elsewhere.Virgin Australia is also seeking to roll out WiFi across its fleet, according to reports which surfaced this week, bringing it on par with Qantas, which already offers the service on some domestic routes.With all that connectivity, you might think that flights would be a haven for those that want to get some work done -- although that's not the case, according to in-flight WiFi provider Gogo.Only 6% of users use WiFi on flights just for work, it said last week, compared to 27% who used it for play and 67% who dabbled in a bit of both. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Which airline fees are worth the extra money?

At a time when a plane ticket gets you little more than a seat and a soda, the array of extras passengers can pay for is dizzying.There's a fee to check your bags and another to be first on the plane. Video screens are just a seatback away, but you'll have to swipe your credit card if you actually want to be entertained. And you don't pay extra just when you fly. Surfing the Web while at a hotel can lead to an extra charge on your final bill.So what's worth the money?"The short answer is every extra is worth it," says Bruce Margolis, the director of global operations for a consulting firm who lives in Orlando and is a frequent traveler. "After all, you get some value from it. However, not every extra is worth it to everyone.''When taking a flight, possible fees range from services that were once included in the basic fare - like a meal - to access to an airline lounge which was once reserved for those with memberships but may now be open to any passenger willing to plunk down cash for a day pass.All those extras have been a boon to the airline industry. From April through June, the most recent period available, U.S. carriers reaped $931 million in luggage fees and $661 million from charges for changing reservations, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.Fliers who've earned elite status with airline loyalty programs can often get upgrades to premium seats and other perks at no extra cost. But those who need to pay should do their homework to determine what's worth the extra bucks."You need to think through what's important," says Jami Counter of, a site that tells travelers about airline cabin features. "If you want to get through security quickly. If you want to get off the plane quickly when you land. You want to look at different options."There's much more to picking a seat nowadays than choosing a window or an aisle, or coach versus first class. Airlines have carved out premium Continue Reading