The Federal Aviation Administration will let United's parent, Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based UAL Corp., install the cabin equipment necessary to provide wireless Internet connection to passengers and crew members on US domestic flights.
United becomes the first domestic airline to get FAA approval that allows passengers to surf the Internet while riding through the sky.
United Airlines and Verizon, which already provides airfone capabilities for the carrier, said it must still get approval from the Federal Communications Commission before the new service can be officially launched.
Both companies expect to have a date within the coming months, following an FCC spectrum auction where service rights and ranges of frequencies will be awarded to one or more onboard Internet access providers.
"Our research shows that connecting to the Internet is customers' most preferred form of communication to the ground, and this certification is a crucial step to bring this in-flight wireless access to our customers," said Dennis Cary, United's senior vice president of marketing."We are thrilled by this accomplishment and proud to lead the industry in North America with Verizon Airfone in this endeavour."