The service will be provided using the Aircell Gogo technology (reviewed here by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal). For $9.95 on flights of 3 hours or less, or $12.95 on flights over three hours, passengers will be able to enjoy “mobile broadband” speeds on their laptop or Wi-Fi enabled PDA or smartphone.
The service will first be introduced on the Delta Airlines MD88/90 fleet, then on their Boeing 737, 757 and 757 aircraft. In total, 300 planes will be outfitted with the necessary equipment, making this the largest committed rollout of in-flight Internet equipment in the world.
It is needless to say that inflight Internet access is here to stay. Previous services that offered basic Internet connectivity all failed because of the price (Verizon Airfone) or the investment for the airline (Connexxion by Boeing).
The Aircell Gogo system is a great combination of the right price, and perfect timing. Airlines are scrambling to find affordable ways to generate some additional revenue, and there are only so many services they can take away or start charging for. One of the big differences in the marketplace over previous years, is that more people are now carrying Wi-Fi enabled devices.
Of course, the Aircell Gogo system won’t be of any use to anyone leaving the domestic airspace, as the ground stations only cover the United States. You can read more about the technology powering this service on the Gogo Inflight Internet site.