American Airlines has taken a step towards rolling out onboard Wi-Fi by successfully completing trial stages on Gogo Inflight technology. The US carrier said it will install the technology on more than 300 domestic aircraft over the next two years.American, a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, was the first U.S. airline to launch the Gogo service last August. Since then, thousands of customers travelling on 15 of American’s Boeing 767-200 aircraft have enjoyed the inflight internet service mainly on non-stop flights between New York JFK and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.
American will install the Aircell system on its domestic MD-80 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft fleets, beginning with 150 MD-80 aircraft this year.
“We are excited to be able to offer the Gogo high-speed service to customers on other aircraft within the American Airlines domestic fleet, starting with the MD-80s,” said Dan Garton, American’s Executive Vice President-Marketing.
“Our trial over the past six months offered customers the choice to remain connected to work, home or elsewhere when flying on American Airlines. And it also gave us the ability to study customers’ willingness to take advantage of high-speed, onboard connectivity and to gauge how the service performed technically in a variety of settings over an extended period of time. We are pleased that the results were positive and that we have decided to move forward.”
Gogo turns an American Airlines flight into a Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling passengers to surf the web, check email, send instant messages and access a corporate VPN. Once the aircraft has reached 10,000 feet, users can simply turn on their Wi-Fi enabled devices - such as laptops, smartphones and handheld PDAs - then open their browsers and be directed to the Gogo portal page where they sign up and begin surfing. Gogo is powered by the Aircell air-to-ground (ATG) system, which uses three small antennas installed outside the aircraft and connects to Aircell’s exclusive nationwide mobile broadband network.
Aircell’s price for the Gogo service ranges from $7.95 to $12.95 based on length of flight and whether the device is a handheld PDA or a laptop computer. Aircell’s pricing plans are:
Long Flight Pass: $12.95 - Standard price for flights longer than 3 hours
Short Flight Pass: $9.95 - Standard price for flights 3 hours or less
Mobile Flight Pass: $7.95 - Mobile device pricing for customers using a handheld device on Gogo-equipped flights of any length.
Each paid Gogo session includes full internet, email and VPN access. Cell phone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service use will not be available.