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American Airlines

Expands in-flight internet

American Airlines expands in-flight internet

American Airlines

After a six month trial, American Airlines has decided to install an in-flight internet service on more than 300 aircraft.

American was the first US airline to launch the Gogo in-flight internet service from Aircell last August. Since then thousands of customers traveling on 15 of American's Boeing 767-200 aircraft have enjoyed the in-flight internet service, mainly on non-stop flights between New York JFK and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.

Now AA will install the Aircell system on 300 of its domestic aircraft over the next two years, starting with 150 MD-80 aircraft this year before introducing it on its Boeing 737-800 fleets.

The airline says the expansion of the in-flight internet service will further enhance its customers' travel experience and meet their evolving travel needs.

Gogo effectively turns an American Airlines flight into a WiFi hotspot, enabling passengers to surf the web, check email, send instant messages, access a corporate VPN and more.

Once the plane has reached 10,000 feet, users can simply turn on their WiFi 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.

Prices for the Gogo service range from $7.95 to $12.95 based on the length of the flight and whether the device is a handheld PDA or a laptop computer.

For every paid Gogo session users get full internet, email and VPN access. But passengers will not be able to use mobile phone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

The Aircell air-to-ground (ATG) system is used to power Gogo. This uses three small antennas installed outside the aircraft and connects to Aircell's exclusive nationwide mobile broadband network.

Aircell claims to be the world leader in providing airborne communications. After getting an FCC frequency licence in 2006 it has built a mobile broadband network for commercial and business airline services.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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