Old Oct 26, 2015, 2:06 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Adam Smith
General WiFi Tidbits
  • WiFi is managed by "WiFi Onboard", formerly known as "Gogo"
  • If you have a pass from WiFi OnBoard for their entire fleet that will generally work
  • You can redeem Aeroplan points for various packages ranging from one hour to the entire flight and at different speeds
  • Only one device at a time can use the plan. Once you log in with another device with your WiFi Onboard or Aeroplan account the other device will drop
  • Rouge J customers are now getting a one-time WiFi Onboard code for free WiFi on the flight instead of getting an iPad


Detailed WiFi roll-out info compiled by FTers:

Planes with WiFi (confirmed by FTers):
  • GoGo 2Ku satellite-based system (fast, large coverage area, including over water - coverage map):
    • 223
    • 319 (rouge)
    • 320 (rouge)
    • 321 (rouge)
    • 333 (except 946 and 948)
    • 788
    • 789 (except 860)
    • 77L
    • 77W
  • Gogo ATG system (old, slow, only works over land in North America, and not very far north - coverage map)
    • CR9: 701-721, 780-784 (note: a recent report from a Jazz pilot suggests the system may be disabled on 780-784)
    • E75
    • 319 (mainline)
    • 320 (mainline)
    • 321 (mainline)

Remaining planes planned for WiFi that are still without WiFI or unknown:
  • CR9: 722-730 (note: a recent report from a Jazz pilot suggests the system may be disabled on 780-784)
  • 7M8: all (AC had an embarrassing escapade with a Thales system that was completely inadequate. As of March 2023, they appear to have given up on this system. What they plan to replace it with is uncertain)
  • 789: 860
  • 333: 946, 948

Planes with no plans to install WiFi:
  • DH4s
  • CRJs


Air Canada Status WiFi Benefit
  • The benefit lasts for 12 months from the date of activation, which is the first date you sign into Gogo on an AC flight using your Aeroplan account. Date of benefit selection is irrelevant. It must be activated by the end of the calendar year.
  • Benefit currently works on all aircraft with WiFi, except possibly rouge. Some rouge aircraft have reported having access to the Aeroplan sign in which was required for the Aeroplan benefit to work. It's unknown whether the benefit will be extended to those fleets in the future.
  • The benefit says you can have up to 5 users but that is five unique devices in a one month period and not simultaneous usage. You will need to log off one device to use another device on the same flight. GoGo will apparently block if it sees too many devices in a one month period to avoid credential sharing.
  • There are huge problems with the Aeroplan login for this benefit. There is a high likelihood that you will need to attempt to log in numerous times for it to work, and it may not work at all. Chatting with WiFi Onboard support should get you a one-time code for free WiFi for the flight.
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On-Board WIFI (2013-2022)

Old Mar 18, 2015, 10:46 am
  #106  
 
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Originally Posted by SparseFlyer
56K



56K





This exists still?


I mean yeah sure, you're in the middle of nowhere over the ocean. But really? Wow.
The classic Inmarsat constelation of satellites (which includes Aero-I, Aero-H, Aero-H+ & Aero-64) were put in place to support voice, ACARS (data 600, 1200 & 10500 bps), and aren't going away anytimne soon, since they were expesinve to put up there and still have lots of useful operational life in them. Swift-64 can have up to four channel bonded together to give up to 256Kbps - but this is really, really expensive - no commercial operator would pay for this, this is in the realm of private biz jet operators.

The new Iridium network of satellites provides for higher speeds, but coverage is limited at the moment and there are interference issues with Inmarsat.

Even with the newer "high speed" (relative term really) satellites network up and running the actual shared Internet access will be close to that of early ADSL deployments of 1.5Mbps down and anywhere from from 128kbps up to 512Kbps for upload. Hardly "high speed" when compared to the terrestrial Internet access most passengers are accustomed to and always expect now - even while cruising at altitudes up to 41k feet in a metal and plastic tube.

Read up on ARINC 741, 761 and 781 for aviation related satellite usage standards.

Last edited by jaysona; Apr 8, 2015 at 4:49 pm Reason: Fixed "ADLS" to "ADSL"
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Old Mar 18, 2015, 10:52 am
  #107  
 
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Originally Posted by superangrypenguin
I may be way off base but I thought the humps on the UA airplanes these days were for WIFI? Again, could be speaking out of my butt but just thought this for some reason...
The "hump" you are referring to is just an antenna, the use of the antenna is up to the operator. I could be just for operator data usage (ACARS, Datalink, etc) or for passenger usage (Internet for example). Just because the antenna is capable of providing Internet access does not mean it is being used for such a purpose.

These are the typical antennas used for Internet communication, the upper left and right ones are the type found under the dome or "hump" and the top center one is used for GoGo ATG (Air To Ground) Internet access and is not satellite based.


Last edited by jaysona; Mar 18, 2015 at 11:27 am Reason: Included image of antennas
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Old Mar 18, 2015, 8:11 pm
  #108  
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Originally Posted by jaysona
The "hump" you are referring to is just an antenna, the use of the antenna is up to the operator. I could be just for operator data usage (ACARS, Datalink, etc) or for passenger usage (Internet for example). Just because the antenna is capable of providing Internet access does not mean it is being used for such a purpose.

These are the typical antennas used for Internet communication, the upper left and right ones are the type found under the dome or "hump" and the top center one is used for GoGo ATG (Air To Ground) Internet access and is not satellite based.
I know why you know this, but man, out of all the things you know on the planet.... In all seriousness, thank you for the truly informative post(s)
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Old Mar 19, 2015, 3:50 am
  #109  
 
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Cool

Originally Posted by wirez666
Never heard of that one. Wifi is available in Canadian airspace, but only within range of a US transmitting tower. The lack of wifi availability in Canada has more to do with the cost of setting up ground stations in such a vast country as opposed to regulatory requirements. The TSB has nothing to do with it, since their job is to investigate aircraft accidents.
What year are we in? SATELLITES! My Goodness, if you're going to implement WiFi and you're a global carrier get it right! The first time... Seems profits are up... Way up... Invest in the future!

ZT
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 4:08 pm
  #110  
 
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Originally Posted by zontar2010
What year are we in? SATELLITES! My Goodness, if you're going to implement WiFi and you're a global carrier get it right! The first time... Seems profits are up... Way up... Invest in the future
Ground stations are cheaper and easier to put close together. That makes for lower cost and higher bandwidth.

The downside of course is that you need sites on the ground to provide coverage. No ground, no coverage.

A really comprehensive aircraft-based WiFi solution would be best to use both types of coverage.
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 7:19 pm
  #111  
 
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Originally Posted by PhotoJim
A really comprehensive aircraft-based WiFi solution would be best to use both types of coverage.
....and really expensive for both operators and users alike.
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 9:06 pm
  #112  
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Originally Posted by danapop
I do think that it should be NC for J Pax.
Agreed. And status pax.

But I have to say, as much as I love the Internet, I'm not exactly thrilled that it's coming to planes. It's one of the few places where I can be genuinely unreachable for several hours at a time and not have to worry about phone calls or e-mails bugging me.
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 9:08 pm
  #113  
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Originally Posted by adam.smith
Agreed. And status pax.

But I have to say, as much as I love the Internet, I'm not exactly thrilled that it's coming to planes. It's one of the few places where I can be genuinely unreachable for several hours at a time and not have to worry about phone calls or e-mails bugging me.
I truly don't want to go OT but since you posted this, I feel inclined to reply as I feel strongly about this.

To me, stress = when I can't get access to my emails. I dont need to call, i'm cool with not having Lync/Skype and other VOIP thingies work, but if I can't get access to email it stresses me the F out. So on vacation or on travels around the world, I roam. I need to, or it's like me without a few gins in me. I get stressed.
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 9:29 pm
  #114  
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Originally Posted by superangrypenguin
I truly don't want to go OT but since you posted this, I feel inclined to reply as I feel strongly about this.

To me, stress = when I can't get access to my emails. I dont need to call, i'm cool with not having Lync/Skype and other VOIP thingies work, but if I can't get access to email it stresses me the F out. So on vacation or on travels around the world, I roam. I need to, or it's like me without a few gins in me. I get stressed.
I agree that most of the time I would much rather have e-mails and Internet access, but I find there to be something liberating about being on a plane and being truly unavailable for a few hours. I work in finance where a lot of things are assumed to be urgent and near-instantaneous responses are expected to e-mails and phone calls, but a lot of the time it isn't truly that urgent or important. So if I'm on a plane and just catch up on it all when I land, it's a lot more peaceful.

Also, I don't think we're at all OT. The subject of the thread is simply "On-Board WIFI". We're debating the merits of on-board WiFi, which seems quite topical to me
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 9:31 pm
  #115  
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Originally Posted by adam.smith
I agree that most of the time I would much rather have e-mails and Internet access, but I find there to be something liberating about being on a plane and being truly unavailable for a few hours. I work in finance where a lot of things are assumed to be urgent and near-instantaneous responses are expected to e-mails and phone calls, but a lot of the time it isn't truly that urgent or important. So if I'm on a plane and just catch up on it all when I land, it's a lot more peaceful.

Also, I don't think we're at all OT. The subject of the thread is simply "On-Board WIFI". We're debating the merits of on-board WiFi, which seems quite topical to me
Fair point about the OTness of our posts on this subject. I dunno about you but the second we're at 3000 feet, uhh, I mean we land, the first thing I do is sync my Exchange emails. When I had in flight wifi on my SEA YYZ flight, I did two things in priority order. Check emails and post on FT

In all honestly, if i could choose to be without email for a few hours or to get ahead with emails, I'd go with the latter
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 9:42 pm
  #116  
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Are these work or personal e-mails? Would having access to on-board WiFi lead to people expecting you to work at times you otherwise wouldn't?
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 9:48 pm
  #117  
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Sometimes I get bored on a flight and want to work. The last time I tried was on a United p.s. flight, but the wifi was too slow to do what I needed (remote desktop).
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Old Apr 2, 2015, 7:13 pm
  #118  
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Happy to report YYZ YQR now has Wifi. It's never had WIFI until today. Flying YQR YYZ on AC 1118 on April 2nd. Finally WIFI, posting on FT via it now.
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 12:44 pm
  #119  
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Now currently on AC121 just over Lake Huron... Not bad quality connection. Price may be steep for some but worthwhile whose billable rate is high. ^
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by superangrypenguin
Fair point about the OTness of our posts on this subject. I dunno about you but the second we're at 3000 feet, uhh, I mean we land, the first thing I do is sync my Exchange emails. When I had in flight wifi on my SEA YYZ flight, I did two things in priority order. Check emails and post on FT

In all honestly, if i could choose to be without email for a few hours or to get ahead with emails, I'd go with the latter
You can never be ahead with emails - the faster you reply, the more you get!
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