Connectivity remains the name of the game at 35,000ft, with KLM now deploying their Boeing 737-800 fleet with ViaSat hardware, allowing passengers to connect in the air.
ViaSat’s equipment will be installed aboard 18 of KLM’s Boeing 737-800 mainline fleet, as well as 21 of KLM City Hopper Embraer E-195.
The 737-800’s are expected to be outfitted with Viasat’s latest in-flight connectivity (IFC) equipment by the end of 2021 and in-service by early 2022. Specifics around the Embraer E195 fleet installation will be announced later.
Both fleets will operate European flight routes only.
Viasat’s IFC equipment is currently installed on two KLM narrow-body Boeing aircraft. During the first week of service, which began today, KLM will encourage passengers to trial the service free of charge and provide insights to further optimize the onboard Wi-Fi experience.
In service offerings
After the free experience, the service will be chargeable. KLM will offer three tiers of service: Messaging, Surf, and Stream
The Messaging option will give all passengers 30-minutes of free text messaging via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, among other messaging apps.
The Surf and Stream options, which can be purchased in-flight, will give passengers the ability to do more on board, with options to surf the internet/email as well as enjoy full video and audio streaming.
How it works onboard
According to ViaSat, Internet connections are made possible by connecting passenger devices directly to Viasat’s expansive high-capacity Ka-band satellite network, including KA-SAT, ViaSat-2 and other owned and partner satellite systems.
During the flight, passengers can opt for the free messaging service, or upgrade to one of the fee-based connectivity services, which can be purchased during the flight through the KLM Wi-Fi portal.
Viasat’s onboard equipment is designed to be forward-compatible with Viasat’s next-generation satellite constellation, ViaSat-3—which will give KLM additional future satellite capacity and expanded coverage, once ViaSat-3 is in service.
Boet Kreiken, executive vice president, Customer Experience, KLM said:
“Being internet connected when on-the-go is a top priority for our customers,”
“That’s why we’re working with Viasat to specifically define and tailor an in-flight Wi-Fi approach that meets current and future IFC requirements on short- and medium-haul European flights. We believe this new collaboration will enable us to deliver more memorable connected experiences when passengers fly on Viasat-equipped KLM aircraft.”
Don Buchman, Viasat’s vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation added
“KLM came to us seeking an IFC partner that could deliver new, affordable ways to engage and entertain passengers in-flight, with options that included streaming, scrolling and staying connected. In understanding their needs, we delivered a high-value IFC service that can support rising data requirements and the latest internet trends—anytime and on any short hop European flight.”
More important than ever, Inflight Connectivity remains important
Inflight Connectivity’s age is fast coming – not just to while away the moments on a hop – but to ensure that you can connect with those on the ground, and so you can be aware of the ever-changing landscape of entry protocols and such.
And notifying loved ones that you are safe.
Connectivity in the air allows those moments, as well as the endless scrolling, the last-minute presentation writing and messaging.
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