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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:35 pm 
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Seattle startup Skycast Solutions is announcing Wednesday that Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet is the first airline customer for its new portable in-flight entertainment tablet.

The device is an 8.9-inch Samsung tablet running the Android operating system and using custom content-management software.

Such portable devices can be distributed by flight attendants to passengers who rent them to watch recently released movies, TV shows or sports programming. They can replace traditional in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems embedded in seat backs.

WestJet offers live TV on its fleet of 737 jets, but Greg Latimer, Skycast's chief marketing officer, said the airline has taken its latest 737-800 direct from Boeing without any IFE system and intends to offer the portable tablets.

Latimer said the initial contract is to supply WestJet for just four aircraft, with 68 of the devices per airplane.

The tablet weighs less than 2 pounds and clips upright onto the back edge of the seat back tray so that the tray remains free for food.

Latimer said Skycast projects that in the near future 85 to 90 percent of passengers on longer flights will bring their own iPad, Kindle or some other portable electronic device aboard.

But Skycast hopes that access to movies still in theaters — content not typically available on subscription services such as Netflix — will persuade many of those passengers to rent a portable device from the airline.

For the airline, it's one more revenue opportunity.

Skycast was founded by CEO Bill Boyer, a former Alaska Airlines baggage handler who invented the first successful portable in-flight entertainment device, the digEplayer.

Boyer sold digEplayer in 2004 for an undisclosed amount to a company now called digEcor. After a lengthy noncompete period, Boyer's Skycast will go up against his original product.

Alaska Airlines rents the digEplayer for $6 on shorter flights or $12 on longer flights.

Latimer said WestJet hasn't settled on a firm rental fee for Skycast's tablet, but it will be in the range of $10 to $15 per transcontinental trip.



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:38 am 
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Awesome, it's getting more and more expensive to travel on WJ. What's next, pay toilets?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:48 pm 
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No, the toilet use is free. They will charge for Toilet Paper though. :rolleyes:


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Location: Call Chuck Testa Ojai Valley Taxidermy. Specializing in the most lifelike dead animals anywhere
Donald is holding out for his $1 dollar Jetsgo fares. Go Greyhound, Donald.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:12 pm 
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Changes in Latitudes wrote:
Donald is holding out for his $1 dollar Jetsgo fares. Go Greyhound, Donald.


WJ are the ones who've traditionally offered $49 fares when entering markets, so...



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:53 pm 
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The reason for the tablet is due Bell and no one else. In May they launched and switched to the Nimiq 6 Satellite. With the older satellite, the beam was spread all across North America. Now the beam is only over Canada. Since WJ flys mostly to the USA in the winter season, the aircraft get no tv. Technology is changing, and so WJ is looking at other options. Wifi soon.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:09 pm 
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westjet needs to get into the satellite industry...launch your own....lots of space around calgary.....
nothing beats live tv....wifi is a close second however...think of the stock price!!!!!



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Wifi *IS* great...when it's free.

Once it costs $$$, it won't be too popular.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:09 pm 
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Qantas axes in-flight Internet after poor take-up
Posted: 04 December 2012 1130 hrs
File photo: The Qantas logo on an aircraft. (AFP - Greg Wood)

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SYDNEY: Australian airline Qantas's trial of in-flight Internet access has been shelved due to a lack of interest from passengers who prefer to sleep or enjoy a rare break from the online world while flying.

Qantas began a service in March which gave travellers on Airbus A380s flying to Los Angeles and London in-flight connectivity using their personal WiFi-enabled laptops and other electronic devices.

But it said Tuesday that while keen to offer the WiFi service to long-haul passengers, less than five per cent of customers had made use of it and it was discontinued last month.

"The commercial trial found that the customer take-up of the WiFi service was extremely low," a spokesman said.

"Most of our A380 services operate at night and so another dampener on demand was the fact people preferred to sleep than surf the web."

Cost was also likely a factor, with the price ranging from A$12.90 (US$13.45) to A$39.90 for various data packages.

"Naturally, the costs associated with offering a reliable Internet connection in-flight are significantly higher than on the ground, particularly when you are flying over vast expanses of ocean and can't connect to ground towers," the spokesman said.

Qantas said customers indicated they would prefer better Internet access at airports, so the airline was investing in upgrading WiFi technology across its domestic and international lounge network.

"Right now, our customers are telling us that access to the Internet on the ground is more important than in the air," the spokesman said.

"We will continue to evaluate demand for WiFi options onboard."

Qantas passengers will still be able to send and receive text messages and make telephone calls in-flight on A380s, selected B747s and A330 aircraft.



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