Alaska Airlines today will launch a customer trial of its new satellite-based wireless Internet service. Named Alaska Airlines Inflight Wi-Fi, the service can be used inflight on any Wi-Fi enabled device such as a laptop, smartphone or portable media player.

Onboard Alaska Airlines' specially-equipped Boeing 737-700 passengers will now be able to engage in a range of online activities including browsing the Web and connecting to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). The service will be free at the start of the trial, which is scheduled to begin on an afternoon flight between Seattle and San Jose, Calif., and will run for about 60 days. After a successful trial period, the airline will determine the schedule for rolling out the commercial availability of its wireless Internet service to its entire fleet of aircraft.

"We're thrilled to be able to offer our passengers a way to stay connected to what matters most to them while en route to their destinations," said Steve Jarvis, Alaska's vice president of marketing, sales and customer experience. "This is a service that everyone can use, whether it's for business or entertainment. Our service gives passengers a choice in how they spend their time while traveling and enhances the inflight experience."

Alaska Airlines and Row 44 have cooperated for more than two years to bring this service to market. "Alaska Airlines continues its long track record of deploying innovative technologies," said John Guidon, CEO for Row 44. "We are proud to be associated with their team and thrilled that such a forward-thinking airline selected Row 44's inflight satellite broadband service."

The airline conducted extensive ground and inflight tests of the technology prior to the launch of the service trial to ensure the system does not interfere with aircraft navigation equipment. In addition, the aircraft equipment has received complete airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The service is being offered on a trial basis and has not yet received final Federal Communications Commission approval.

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