Aircell Gogo inflight Internet service goes live on American Airlines

Several weeks ago, I reported that Delta Airlines was gearing up to offer the Aircell Gogo inflight Internet service, but it is American Airlines who beat them to the first operational service.

Aircell Gogo is now offered on select American Airlines Boeing 767-200 flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles and New York and Miami. This puts the total number of flights with the Gogo Internet service at 174 per week.

For just $12.95, passengers get unlimited access to the Internet, but Aircell points out that VOIP (Internet calling) and cell phone calls are not possible.

To use the service, you’ll need a Wi-Fi capable laptop, PDA or smartphone, you can find a comprehensive list of supported devices on the Gogo site. If you plan to travel light, you’ll be able to use your Wi-Fi enabled Blackberry, iPhone or iPod touch to get online, which should help keep you entertained for the duration of the flight.

Aircell is working on a very swift roll out of their service, in addition to American Airlines and the previously mentioned Delta rollout, they are also working to bring inflight Internet to Virgin America.

This service has all the key features of a successful product; it is affordable, it comes at a time where airlines are scrambling to generate some more revenue, and the market penetration of Wi-Fi enabled devices is larger than ever. My feeling is that it will be a huge success, and certainly more successful than previous attempts at airborne broadband.

Source (and image) from Gogo Inflight Internet

Delta airlines announces domestic fleetwide Internet by 2009

Delta Airlines is joining the ranks of American Airlines and Virgin America with in-flight Wi-Fi Internet access.

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.