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Earlier this year, we revealed that Amazon was teaming up with budget U.S. airline JetBlue to let travelers use Amazon’s online video-streaming service without having to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi access. Well, the tie-up has finally come to fruition and is now available on most JetBlue “Fly-Fi” airplanes.
— Amazon Video (@AmazonVideo) November 24, 2015
JetBlue carries north of 32 million travelers each year, and while it does serve some international markets, it is largely focused on the U.S. The airline offers a free onboard Wi-Fi, known as Fly-Fi, which uses satellites to serve up high-speed Internet access. However, to stream videos, JetBlue has always required travelers to pay for its premium “Fly-Fi Plus” service. Now, with Amazon Video, Wi-Fi is supplied for free.
It’s worth noting here that flyers will be required to use their own devices — laptop, tablet, smartphone — and have their own Amazon account. Prime subscribers will be able to access the full slate of movies and TV shows they have as part of their annual $99 subscription, and anyone can pay for individual titles through the broader Amazon Instant Video offering, while paying nothing extra for Wi-Fi access. There will be some integration with the planes’ in-flight entertainment system — some promotional content from Amazon’s own slate of original shows will be shown directly on the little seat-back screens, including behind-the-scenes clips, interviews, and previews.
Amazon isn’t the only online video company to take to the skies this year. A couple of months back, Netflix announced a similar partnership with Virgin America to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi. Netflix’s House of Cards will also be shown on the seat-back screens.
Amazon is taking things a step further, though. Amazon Prime members can also access around one million songs as part of their subscription through Prime Music, and this library, too, will be available on JetBlue flights at no extra cost, alongside eBooks, apps, and games that are available through their respective online stores.
For the initial rollout, Amazon Video will be available on all JetBlue’s Airbus A321 and A320 aircrafts, followed by its Embraer E190 aircraft next year.
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