Another update on in-flight broadband

Aircell, one of a handful of providers competing to provide in-flight broadband access to airlines and their passengers, has announced that they expect to have planes operating with the service as soon as “this spring,” according to their president. AirCell’s two main customers today are American Airlines and Virgin America. They’re outfitting AA’s 767s with the service initially, with an option to scale up to 500 planes in the AA fleet if things go well. Virgin America is going to be installing the service in all of their Airbus planes as quickly as possible, as they were marketing the internet access as a big selling point in their plans.
What I find particularly strange is the way the article is selling the

If you’re a frequent flier to New York from San Francisco or Los Angeles, or just like to jet down to Miami to get away from the bitter New York winter, then you’re one of the lucky people who will have in-flight broadband by this spring, according to Jack Blumenstein, president and CEO of Itasca, Ill.-based Aircell. The company is calling its in-flight broadband service gogo.

Specifically, AA is only operating the service on their 767s between JFK and SFO/LAX. Virgin America doesn’t fly to Miami (yet). I have no idea at all why Miami is mentioned at all in the story. At some point journalism crossed over with creative writing, and it hasn’t always been for the better.

Anyways, despite the poorly written article, it is good to see this option moving closer to operation. Aircell is the better service of the two main options (the other being LiveTV, owned by JetBlue) as I wrote about previously. I just wonder if the differences between the two services will be enough to drive passengers from one carrier to another. It just might be for me. Then again, Aircell is going to charge $13 for a transcon flight, while the LiveTV service is going to be free. Free crap is still crap, but at least it is free.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.