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Alaska Airlines Working With Row 44 To Launch Inflight Wireless Internet Service

9/18/2007 8:08 a.m.

Alaska Airlines today announced it plans to launch inflight wireless Internet service next year based on Row 44's satellite-based broadband connectivity solution. Alaska made the announcement in Toronto at the 28th Annual World Airline Entertainment Association Conference and Exhibition. The airline will test Row 44's system on a next-generation Boeing 737 aircraft in spring 2008 and, based on the trial's outcome, plans to equip its 114-aircraft fleet.

The technology will provide customers with a unique entertainment and business network at 35,000 feet. Passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as laptop computers, PDAs, smartphones and portable gaming systems, will have high-speed access to the Internet, e-mail, virtual private networks and stored inflight entertainment content.
     
"Bringing broadband Internet access to the skies is one of the most important things we can do to enhance the experience of both business and leisure customers," said Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines' vice president of sales, marketing and customer experience. "We're moving ahead with testing and ultimately plan to bring wireless broadband to our whole fleet."

Unlike air-to-ground services, Row 44's satellite-based system is designed to function over land, water and across international borders, enabling service throughout Alaska's route system in Alaska, the Lower 48 states, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.

Customers connect to the system through wireless hotspots installed inside the aircraft cabin. A light-weight radome mounted on top of the aircraft houses an antenna, which receives and transmits signals through the Ku-band satellite system.

"Alaska's route system and their proven leadership using innovative technology make them an ideal airline for our system's flight testing and early deployment," said Gregg Fialcowitz, Row 44's president. "Deploying our service on their routesówith so many areas that can't be served by air-to-ground systemsóis a perfect opportunity to highlight the benefits of our satellite-based system."

Alaska Airlines has frequently been recognized for its use of pioneering technology to improve the customer experience. The airline, in 1995, was the first North American carrier to sell tickets online and, in 1999, became the first carrier worldwide to offer Internet check-in.      

Alaska and Row 44 have worked together for two years to bring a successful and cost-efficient inflight broadband solution to market.

Based in Westlake Village, Calif., Row 44 is a provider of true broadband communication for the airline industry. Compact and lightweight, Row 44's broadband system is compatible with a broad range of aircraft types and sizes, including narrow- and wide-body aircraft. For more information, visit row44.com.

Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, serve 92 cities through an expansive network throughout Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and Mexico. This year Alaska Airlines celebrates its 75th anniversary, marking the airline's growth from a single-aircraft operation in 1932 to one of the largest U.S. carriers. For reservations, visit alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at alaskaair.com/newsroom.