Friday Flyday: On Board Gogo’s Jimmy Ray


How do you make sure in-flight internet works before installing it on thousands of planes in the real world? Doing it right means flying the systems around and spending countless hours testing. And for Gogo that effort comes mostly on the company’s 737-500. The plane, named Jimmy Ray in honor of one of the company’s founders, spends a lot of time in the sky and every now and then mere mortals get to tag along for a test flight to see what the new service is like.

Earlier this week I was invited on board to see what the new 2Ku service is like. I ran a bunch of tests and streamed some video off of the plane (upload speeds are more limited than download) while others on board loaded up movies and otherwise tried to break the system. My full report on the 2Ku testing is over at Runway Girl Network.

Looking out the window of Gogo's Jimmy Ray somewhere over Vermont
Looking out the window of Gogo’s Jimmy Ray somewhere over Vermont

And here I have a few photos from the trip and a video out the window as we cruised from Newark up to Vermont and back.

Streaming out on the right, watching live on the left, all via Gogo's 2Ku system
Streaming out on the right, watching live on the left, all via Gogo’s 2Ku system

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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, LinkedIn and .

7 Comments

  1. Considering the proposed ban on laptops, are airlines even considering adding and/or improving wi-fi?

    1. There are a few thousand committed aircraft awaiting installs still today. Gogo has a 2Ku install backlog around 1400-1500 (many are upgrades, some are new installs) and other vendors have hundreds or more pending, too. I do not see that changing, mostly because I do not believe that a long-term prohibition of devices in the passenger cabin is viable.

      1. Your mouth to God’s ear.

        I didn’t think we’d still be taking off our shoes at airports 15 years later. To the best of my knowledge, the US is the only country with that requirement.

  2. Seems like Gogo is having some installation and certification challenges with 2Ku antenna on widebodies. If this challenge continues, pax won’t be seeing improved speeds on those int’l fleets for a while.

    1. What are you basing that on, Matt?

      Also, Gogo has far more aircraft committed to 2Ku than your competing company has for its service, so maybe be careful about the public digs you’re taking.

      1. Feedback from customers that are going through the pain. Quantities of tails committed are function of fleet size of the customer.

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