Half a year after Amazon originally announced a partnership with JetBlue to bring its Amazon Prime Instant Video service and its Prime Music service to the airline’s passengers, the company says today that the service is now available on the majority of JetBlue’s “Fly-Fi” enabled planes – meaning those that offer JetBlue’s free, high-speed broadband internet service. This deal is notable because it’s the first time Amazon has partnered with an airline to power an in-flight entertainment service.
It’s also an interesting means of acquiring new Amazon customers, as the deal also allows non-Prime members the ability to rent and buy titles from the Amazon Instant Video store, buy songs from the Amazon Music store, buy e-books from the Kindle store, as well as apps and games from the Amazon Appstore.
For some passengers, this could be the first time they’ve used one or more of Amazon’s entertainment-focused services, or the first time they’ve been educated on what else beyond free, two-day shipping, an Amazon Prime membership includes.
Prime members, meanwhile, are able to stream tens of thousands of movies and TV shows included with their Prime subscription, as well as listen to the over one million songs available on Prime Music.
For JetBlue, the deal is also advantageous as it offers a differentiating and competitive offering for its airline passengers, who not only get to use the complimentary Wi-Fi service, but also don’t have to download any apps or content in advance of the flight. Instead, the internet service uses satellite technology to provide customers with broadband speeds, and access to Amazon’s entertainment library, which is built into the JetBlue Fly-Hi Hub.
Though the companies haven’t disclosed the details of their business arrangement, it’s implied that Amazon is helping subsidize the cost of the free broadband by nature of this agreement.
The deal expands beyond entertainment content, too. JetBlue passengers can earn TrueBlue points when they shop specific categories on Amazon over the free Fly-Fi broadband internet while on the flight, or through other JetBlue promotions as a part of this deal.
The service will be enabled on all of JetBlue’s Airbus A321 and A320 aircraft this year, and will roll out to its Embraer E190 aircraft in 2016. In terms of reaching the majority of the Fly-Fi planes, Amazon says that it expects full completion by Thanksgiving.
Amazon isn’t the only streaming service going after the captive audience 35,000 feet up, of course. Netflix also made a similar deal with Virgin America announced this fall, which sees its full catalog made available on that airline’s Airbus A320 planes by way of Virgin Amercia’s ViaSat-powered Wi-Fi.