Amazon is taking to the skies in its battle with Netflix: The e-commerce giant announced a deal with JetBlue, under which Prime members will have free, unlimited access to in-flight Wi-Fi — fast enough to stream video right to their seats.
Later this year JetBlue planes with Fly-Fi broadband Internet service, which currently is in a beta-test phase, will open access to Amazon Prime subscribers. Normally, the Fly-Fi service is $9 per hour, while the airline’s free Wi-Fi is not robust enough allow video streaming.
“We want to provide the best digital video experience to our customers and we’re excited that with JetBlue, we will raise the bar in airline entertainment,” said Michael Paull, Amazon’s VP of digital video.
Amazon Prime ($99 per year) provides free two-day shipping on millions of items, as well as access to thousands of titles on Prime Instant Video, including Golden Globe-winning original series “Transparent” (pictured above).
JetBlue’s Fly-Fi system uses satellite-delivered Internet to provide speeds comparable to wireline broadband service. Amazon and JetBlue said they collaborated to ensure that the in-flight entertainment system will be able to deliver high-quality streaming for movies and TV episodes from Amazon. JetBlue’s Fly-Fi will be available on all JetBlue’s Airbus A321 and A320 aircraft this year, and on JetBlue’s Embraer E190 aircraft in 2016.
For JetBlue, the pact is part of its effort to stand out from bigger rivals like American Airlines and Delta. Passenger perks on JetBlue include free unlimited snacks and beverages.
“Just like at home, customers will be able to access movies and TV shows from Amazon from 35,000 feet in the sky over our super fast and free Fly-Fi,” said Jamie Perry, VP of brand and product development for JetBlue. “By teaming up with a category-leader like Amazon, we created a unique model where we can offer complimentary broadband Internet access.”