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First 'budget' airliner in US to offer in-flight WiFi

Average price of $6.50 per flight, according to Spirit

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Spirit Airlines announced that it will equip its entire fleet of Airbus A320-family jets with high-speed WiFi by the summer of 2019.

The budget airliner is rolling out internet access to its aircraft this fall, and is promising another speed upgrade when the SES-17 satellite reaches orbit in 2021.

Spirit will offer high-speed WiFi for an average price of $6.50 per flight. That price could go higher or lower depending on your route and "demand," according to Spirit Airlines president Ted Christie.
For example, travelers who only need enough bandwidth to web browse will pay a different price than those who want to stream high-definition videos.

Spirit has selected Thales Group's ka-band HTS satellite-based system to supply high-speed internet for its planes. According to the airline, the system is expected to be able to provide service coverage for 97 percent of its routes immediately upon entry into service. Future service improvements will allow WiFi coverage for Spirit's entire route network.

Affordable WiFi is one part of a larger strategy to improve the airline's overall experience. Christie said his airline is improving operational reliability, customer service and buying a brand new fleet of Airbus jets.

Spirit Airlines operates a fleet of around 120 Airbus A320-family jets with an average age of just 5.3 years.