Amazon Goes Airborne as JetBlue Seeks Edge With Free Wi-Fi

You may be able to watch free movies in the sky if you are traveling this Thanksgiving, as long as you use Amazon Prime on JetBlue Airways Corp.

Passengers on about 160 JetBlue aircraft, or three-quarters of the fleet, will be able to access thousands of titles through the Amazon.com Inc. video streaming service via free Wi-Fi on flights by Thursday. JetBlue and Amazon announced the partnership in May.

The accord gives the world’s largest online retailer a new way to expand the Amazon Prime product, which costs $99 a year in the U.S. JetBlue gets another digital offering for its free broadband service separate from its signature seat-back display screens. Larger carriers led by American Airlines Group Inc. charge for onboard Wi-Fi.

“The Amazon partnership is the cornerstone of our initiative to keep the fastest in-air Wi-Fi free for our customers,” said Doug McGraw, a spokesman for New York-based JetBlue, in an e-mail.

JetBlue dropped 1.7 percent to $25.34 at the close in New York. Amazon dipped 1.2 percent to $671.15.

Passengers who aren’t Prime members can sign up for a 30-day free trial inflight and view movies immediately, or can rent or buy a selection. JetBlue plans to offer the Amazon Prime service on all of its fleet by the end of 2016.

Since JetBlue introduced its inflight broadband service Fly-Fi in December 2013, passengers have made it clear they’d rather watch something of their own choosing than the flight’s movie offerings, Vice President Jamie Perry said in an telephone interview.

“What’s happening is people are watching whatever they want to watch,” Perry said, “and continuing their lives in the air as they would be on the ground.”

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