US Airways to expand Internet access on planes

Posted: March 22, 2012

PHOENIX - US Airways announced Wednesday that it would be expanding in-flight Internet access, saying that 90 percent of its mainline domestic airplanes will offer WiFi service to passengers by mid-2013.

The airline, which is the dominant carrier servicing Philadelphia International Airport, also said it would launch a streaming-video service that will allow passengers to watch movies and television shows or download audio books on their own laptops, mobile phones, or iPads.

The new services are another way for the airline to collect additional revenue as it battles rising fuel costs. Customers will pay up to $12.95 per flight for the Internet access and up to $5.99 more for the streaming-video service.

Already, fees on checked luggage, prime seats, beverages, and other amenities generate more than $500 million a year for US Airways.

By mid-2013, passengers will have access to Internet service on 287 of the 340 planes on US Airways' mainline fleet. The service also will be expanded to 58 US Airways Express planes, operated by Republic Airlines.

The Internet access will not be offered on US Airways flights to Europe, because the service will be provided by land-based cell towers, rather than satellite transmitters.

Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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