Gogo Rates to Increase in January of 2013

Photograph ©istockphoto.com by DeshaCAM.

FlyerTalk members have been receiving notifications that rates to access the Internet during flights using Gogo will increase in January of 2013.

For example, a subscription to The Traveler Pass — unlimited access to the Internet on your preferred airline — will increase five dollars from $34.95 per month to $39.95 per month.

Gogo also apparently had eliminated some options, as there are now only three available options which you may purchase before your flight on their official Internet web site:

  • $14,95 All-Day Pass, available for unlimited Internet access on all partner airlines all day long during flights
  • $49,95 Gogo Unlimited, available for unlimited Internet access on all partner airlines all month long during flights
  • $39.95 The Traveler Pass, available for unlimited Internet access on one preferred airline all month long during flights

Gogo had already eliminated the one-time flight pass — which at one time had cost $12.95 for unlimited Internet access during one flight — earlier this year in favor of offering Internet service for ten dollars per hour.

This means that a six-hour flight could cost as much as $50.00 for Internet service during a flight when including an hour total for take-off and landing, as Gogo is not accessible when the aircraft is below 10,000 feet, including on the ground.

Gogo also used to offer a one-year subscription for $399.95.

I personally would not consider paying these rates for Internet access during flights unless there was a financial return on my investment. However, I do use the service whenever I have complimentary access while in flight, but more often than not, the service is rather slow.

As high as the rates may be, let us put things in perspective.

For example, am I the only one who remembers when airplanes were equipped with Airfone — a telephone which could be used during a flight — by either Verizon or GTE? Do you remember how expensive Airfone was to use — $3.99 per minute plus a connection fee of $3.99? That eight dollars for that one minute cost almost as much as the ten dollars for that hour of Gogo Internet service during a flight. I used the Airfone service exactly once for a very abrupt telephone call because I needed to update someone with important information. This service was significantly more expensive than for what Gogo offers today — even after the rate increases.

By the way, Airfone was acquired by Gogo earlier this year.

Also, keep in mind that — despite the slow service — Internet access at 35,000 feet during a flight is still quite cool. It was not that long ago that this was not possible. Perspective, people.

That is not to say that I do not believe the rates are inexpensive, as I will most likely not purchase the service. However, at least I know that if I absolutely need to access the Internet, I do have an option that will not quite “break the bank” for me. Of course, I do understand that for those who are frequent fliers and must use the Internet every time they are passengers on an airplane, the costs will add up quickly.

However, there are ways around this rate increase issue, in no particular order:

  • While not exactly an elegant solution, two people could share the Internet access on one computer or other electronic device
  • Gogo does offer special promotions — for example, they had a contest back in July of this year where I won a code for free access to the Internet every time I entered while in flight, and it did not cost me one penny to enter the contest multiple times or use the Internet access I won
  • Gogo also offers special rate promotions, such as the current holiday promotion of a three-day pack good for all airlines for only $19.50 which expires on either December 31, 2012 or January 3, 2013.
  • Access codes have been given out on FlyerTalk free of charge by fellow FlyerTalk members who often ask for nothing in return
  • Internet web sites — such as for the airline on which you are flying as a passenger, or SkyMall, or amazon.com or ebay.com on occasion — can be accessed free of charge
  • Sometimes a company sponsors free Internet access for a limited time using Gogo, such as eBay did for 30 free minutes of Gogo Internet service for every passenger during the holiday season last year

While the speed of service could vary at times, Gogo plans on implementing improvements in the future, such as expanding access to international flights and replacing its land-based service to satellite-based service. To upgrade and expand its service, Gogo needs capital to pay for it.

Are the rate increases fair in terms of capital used for future improvements and communications access, or is Gogo requesting too much money for its current services?

What do you think — and where is your threshold as to when the rates to access Internet service via Gogo are too expensive for you to consider using?

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Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • cova at 8:49pm January 01, 2013

    On the Verizon Airphone – the pricing listed at $3.99 per minute was the old pricing.

    If you had a Verizon Cell Phone – the price was only 69 cents per minute with no connect charge and no monthly fee. If you paid an extra $9.99 monthly fee on your cell phone bill then the minute cost of using Airfone was only 10 cents a minute with no connect fee.

    Plus you could receive incoming calls for the 69 cents or 10 cents depending on plans. All you had to do was key in your cell phone number at the start of the flight and if someone called your cell phone – then the phone in the seat back would ring. First class had individual phones per seat and coach share one phone for 3 seats (the middle seat had the phone).

    The ability to receive incoming calls for cheap was really nice feature. I used the airfone freqently at those prices. The minute cost just appeared on your Verizon cell phone bill. This was a big loss when Verizon sold out.

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