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AA to Swap Wi-Fi Provider After Nearly a Decade

Once the market leader for in-flight Wi-Fi service, American has confirmed that it is dropping Gogo in favor of speedier ViaSat.

American Airlines has announced that it will be swapping the in-flight Wi-Fi service provider on more than 500 of its domestic aircraft from Gogo to ViaSat. While the former company has dominated the in-flight Wi-Fi market for more than a decade, the latter company, which already provides services to JetBlue, appears to have tempted American with its swift connectivity.

While ViaSat is renowned for speed, the catch is that it will take years for American to install the service across its aircraft. A ViaSat spokesperson confirmed to Skift that installations will commence next summer and American has said that it will begin by outfitting around 100 Boeing 737 Max craft with the new system.

Relying on satellite technology rather than cell towers, ViaSat provides enough bandwidth for passengers to utilize their Wi-Fi connection almost exactly as they would at home, meaning that streaming is not a problem.

Back in 2008, American was Gogo’s very first customer at a time when in-flight Wi-Fi was a considerable technological innovation. But as the years passed, more passengers connected to the service which, in turn, hampered Gogo’s ability to offer a reliably swift connection.

While Gogo has worked to improve its offerings over the years, it has also raised its prices, a point that hasn’t gone down well with passengers looking for value-for-money service.

Martha Thomas, spokesman for American, confirmed that the carrier was now looking to better its in-flight connectivity. “As more customers bring and use Wi-Fi enabled devices onboard, we constantly look for ways to improve our in-flight Wi-Fi service to give them the best experience possible.”

But American won’t be getting rid of Gogo entirely; instead, it is operating a three-tiered Wi-Fi service across its fleet in order to ensure that passengers have good coverage.

It has confirmed that it will be keeping Gogo on its regional craft while its long-haul planes will continue to use a system from Panasonic which, like ViaSat, is also satellite-based.

The use of three providers, explained Thomas, will allow the carrier to outfit its fleet with the best Wi-Fi service as quickly as possible.

[Photo: American Airlines]

Comments are Closed.
Wingtipflyer1 November 11, 2016

Amen. Hope the new service will have realistic a la carte (hourly) pricing like UA. The connections stink on AA w/ NoGO. UA has always worked great for me.

FlyingWithers November 10, 2016

Good move. I am a DL guy and I have given up on DL's GoGo service. It does not function properly. It is not enough to do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required: Winston Churchill