American Airlines and communications provider Aircell have begun a trial of their new internet service, which the airline claims is a first for the US.
The trial is set to last up to six months on American”s 15-strong fleet of 767-200s, flying between New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Passengers with 802.11a/b/g wifi enabled devices such as laptops, PDAs and smartphones, can log on to the onboard ”Gogo” wireless network, at a cost of US$12.95 (”7) per flight, payable using all major credit cards including Amex.
Once connected, users will be directed to the Gogo portal page, allowing full internet access and compatibility with most corporate VPNs, with speeds comparable to mobile broadband on the ground. Mobile phone and VoIP services however, both of which are still against American”s policy, will not be available.
The Gogo system uses Aircell”s air-to-ground (ATG) network of 92 cellular towers across continental America, built after it successfully won an FCC licence in 2006.
”Airlines finally have an economically viable option for providing the broadband connectivity passengers are demanding,” said Jack Blumenstein, President and CEO of Aircell. ”Today the days of being cut off from the rest of the world while in the air become history.”
Click Aircell, Gogo or American Airlines for more information.