American Airlines Expands Domestic Wi-Fi Service

American Airlines has announced it will expand its in-flight wireless internet to include an additional 300 aircraft in its fleet.

Fifteen different Boeing 767-200 aircraft currently support the AA Wi-Fi internet, but 300 MD-80 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft will also have internet support thanks to AirCell.  

The decision was made after a six-month trial between the two companies, with the Wi-Fi expansion offering fliers “the chance to choose to remain connected to work, home or elsewhere when flying,” and American has the opportunity to evaluate “customers’ willingness to take advantage” of in-flight Internet.

In-flight internet on American aircraft is activated after the plane reaches 10,000 feet in elevation, and must be turned off before final descent.

GoGo, the American Wi-Fi service provided by third-party company AirCell, costs $9.95 for flights shorter than 1,150 miles, and $12.95 for transcontinental flights over 1,150 miles in distance.  

Airline companies have been in a battle to try and offer Wi-Fi internet access on flights, as a growing number of passengers have laptops and other mobile devices that are Wi-Fi-enabled.  Delta, Southwest Airlines, and other airline companies are also testing Wi-Fi access.

Aircell is working with Air Canada and at least one other air carrier right now, and is focused on offering internet for both domestic and overseas flights.  Although satellite-based wireless service is possible for transatlantic flights, it’s cost effectiveness makes it a serious liability at the moment.

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