Internet service on U.S. airlines is about to get a lot better. Here's how

Justin Bachman and Mary Schlangenstein

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi on a plane is as unlikely as sitting in a row with an empty seat. But the era of lost connectivity while airborne may be ending.

A spate of new in-flight connection deals in recent weeks, including the first aircraft contracts signed by SpaceX's Starlink satellite unit, aim to make high-speed Wi-Fi less glitch-free over the next three years on most domestic flights operated by major U.S. carriers. The latest in-flight deal came Wednesday when Southwest Airlines said it would add a second Wi-Fi provider, Viasat Inc., for faster speeds on more than 400 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft.