It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Yahoo! Messenger from 30,000 feet! Today marks the official launch of a customized version of Yahoo! Messenger for JetBlue passengers.
Internet access on commercial flights is a new concept, and JetBlue is the first domestic carrier to test it with their new BetaBlue airplane. Passengers with WiFi-enabled laptops or Blackberry devices on the plane can connect for free to the on-board wireless network. Once connected, they can communicate with friends, family and colleagues on the ground using customized versions of both Yahoo! Messenger for the Web and Yahoo! Mail. Read more about our partnership with JetBlue.
After signing into Yahoo! Messenger you can see which of your Yahoo! or Windows Live Messenger friends are online and send them instant messages. Even if a friend isn’t online, you can use the built in SMS feature to send a text message right to their mobile phone. If they reply back, you get it right in Yahoo! Messenger. The SMS feature is really handy if you need to send news about your flight to a friend or family member (or just gripe about that kid kicking your seat).
We also added a few special status messages that let your friends know you’re flying high with JetBlue. “Head in the clouds – seriously”, “Sleeping on the Plane” and “Ugh! Crying baby on flight” are just a few. Or choose “Custom Message…” and get creative.
So what’s in it for your earth-bound friends while you’re cruising at 30,000 feet? When your status is set to one of the flight-specific messages, your friends will see your airborne status and be able to click on it, taking them to a page where they can view your flight location and status in real-time.
JetBlue’s BetaBlue plane is the first to offer these free services to its passengers. While you can’t specifically request the BetaBlue plane for your next JetBlue journey, be sure to keep your laptop handy the next you fly with them. You might just get a chance to try out Yahoo! Messenger from 30,000 feet in the air.
Director of Product, Yahoo! Messenger
Here are some photos of the launch event at SFO (courtesy of Jeremy Johnstone):