Continental Airlines today announced that it has entered into an agreement with LiveTV, L.L.C. that will allow Continental to offer 36 channels of live, inflight satellite-based television programming provided by DIRECTV, the nation’s leading satellite television provider, at every seat on Continental’s new generation aircraft. The service is expected to be available to customers on flights operating within the continental United States beginning in January 2009.

In addition, Continental will be introducing onboard Wi-Fi services including e-mail and instant messaging connectivity offered by LiveTV.

“Our customers want more inflight entertainment and communication options,” said Larry Kellner, Continental’s chairman and chief executive office, in the press release. “We have been closely watching technology developments and are delighted to have teamed up with LiveTV to offer live television programming and communication to our customers.”

Customers will be able to choose from a variety of quality programming from DIRECTV including sports, news, weather, children’s programming and general entertainment. The initial channel programming lineup offered through the inflight entertainment system is expected to include CBS, NBC, FOX News, CNN Headline News, ESPN, Animal Planet, The History Channel, Food Network, Nickelodeon, MTV and other popular channels. The inflight entertainment system will also offer a moving map and other stored informational and entertainment content. Continental will offer complimentary access to the system to all first-class customers. Economy-class customers will be able to access the system by paying a $6 access fee.

In addition, Continental will offer complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity services allowing customers to access e-mail and instant messaging subject to LiveTV being able to offer the service, which is still in the testing phase. Customers will be able to use the service with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and laptops to connect to work, friends and family via Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger and BlackBerry e-mail and BlackBerry Messenger services.

The new services will be installed on Continental’s fleet of Boeing 737 New Generation aircraft, including the 737-700, -800, -900 and -900ER aircraft, and the Boeing 757-300.

Source: Continental Airlines