Wi-Fi in-flight comes to some American routes
Wireless service to cost $12.95; airline to evaluate whether to expand effort in three to six months
Computerworld - American Airlines launched in-flight Wi-Fi service on three long-haul routes in the U.S. today, and it will decide in three to six months whether to expand the service to other routes.
While there has been a recent surge in interest among airlines in providing in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers, this is the biggest step any carrier has taken toward that goal. Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines said it will begin rolling out Wi-Fi service on all its planes in the fall, while Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Jet Blue have Wi-Fi tests or limited projects underway.
American has created Wi-Fi networks aboard 15 Boeing 767-200 planes serving three routes with nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and New York and Miami, the airline said.
Today's launch was originally intended to take place last month, but "tweaks" had to be made to the system, especially to simplify the setup process for users, an American spokeswoman said today.
The Wi-Fi service, called Gogo, is provided by Aircell LLC, which has offices in Broomfield, Colo. and Itasca, Ill. Gogo connects each plane's Wi-Fi hot spot to the ground over a 3-Mhz signal that connects to Aircell's network of 92 cell towers throughout the continental U.S.
Users will be able to launch Internet browsers on Wi-Fi-enabled laptops or other devices once planes reach 10,000 feet. At that point, they will be directed to a Gogo portal to sign up for service with a credit card. The service will cost $12.95 on each flight over three hours.
While users will have the ability to surf the Web, check e-mail, hold instant-messaging conversations and access corporate VPNs, they will not be allowed to use voice over IP or any voice cell service while in the air. All of the airlines setting up Wi-Fi service have cited federal rules forbidding in-flight phone calls as one of the reasons why they are not offering voice service, but they have also noted that other passengers would get annoyed if too many of their fellow travelers talked on cell phones.
American issued a statement saying Wi-Fi speeds in-flight will be comparable to mobile broadband speeds on the ground. And it added that performance levels for video downloads during beta tests were similar to those for downloads via ground-based mobile broadband service.
There were two recent dress rehearsals to fine-tune the technology, one aboard a flight in June and another last week, said the American spokeswoman, September Wade. During the trial runs, Aircell and American found that the number of steps needed to set up an account had to be decreased. "We wanted it simple for anybody, technical or not," she said.
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!