American Airlines launches in-flight Wi-Fi on busy routes
Three of American Airlines' routes out of New York will get in-flight Wi-Fi: Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. The service will be available on all Boeing 767-200 planes in the fleet.
Starting Wednesday, AA's new Gogo service will be available to customers, and will be run by aviation telecommunications company Aircell. Passengers will pay $12.95 for access during flights longer than three hours.
American already tested Gogo on two flights back in late June, with successful results. Aircell is working with other carriers, including Delta -- which will bring the service to 330 aircraft in its fleet during 2009 -- and Virgin America.
For now, the plan is to make Gogo available to fliers once their plane is above 10,000 feet. The connection from the plane to ground is handled through Aircell's own nationwide network.
Aircell won the spectrum necessary to provide in-flight Internet back in 2006. While service is initially planned for the continental US, Aircell plans to expand the footprint to the rest of North America and the Caribbean.
Wireless in-flight Internet has become the next possible source of revenue for airlines in this struggling economy. Faced with shrinking profits due to rising fuel prices, and a reluctance to raise fares in a highly competitive market, the airlines are looking for other ways to generate revenue.
Southwest announced in January plans for its own Wi-Fi, and companies across Europe are also working on bringing both Wi-Fi and cellular phone use during flights.
Aircell's technology will not help users wanting to make phone calls during flight: VoIP has been blocked, it says.