THE WAY OF THE FUTURE: Special plane tests out new wifi technology

While some may argue passenger comforts are diminishing on flights -- there's one thing that is improving.


As improvement continues, Phoenix-based Honeywell Aerospace is leading the charge. They developed hardware that provides high-speed internet to planes, located anywhere in the world, by using their Boeing 757 plane to test the new technology.

Many planes fly in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, but one is arguably the most unique. Joe Duval is the test pilot for Honeywell's test plane. Anyone entering the plane will realize it is no ordinary 757 that carries passengers.

The plane can be reconfigured inside, as well as outside, to run any gamut of tests on any one of Honeywell Aerospace's products, be it a test engine that can be affixed to the side of the plane, to an instrument in the cockpit.

"Pretty much any airplane that you're flying on as a passenger, business jet, or even a small airplane is going to have some sort of Honeywell piece of equipment on it," said Duval.

For the past three years, Honeywell has been working on making internet on planes faster, more reliable, and accessible worldwide.

"Whether you're at home or in the office, you still got that same level of connectivity, the same level of speed, that same level of reliability, the same consistency of connection, which is really more of the game changer," said Duval.

The hardware is called JetWave. It connects the plane directly to satellites to create a fast WiFi connection. Not only does the technology makes a better experience for passengers, it also helps the pilots up front, with things like weather updates and ground communications.

"Without that connectivity, you may have been able to get limited information before you took off or en route, but having that speed and that reliability of the connection, it's like I'm at my office, I can look at different websites, look at different apps and have it real-time and updated," said Duval.

International airlines such as Lufthansa, Qatar and Singapore Airlines are now using the JetWave hardware on their planes.