American Airlines and AirCell say that the service on the flight will be offered
for free in a large-scale test of how the internet access will be used and
how well it performs. The Dallas Morning News reports that American
Airlines is also considering the expansion of AirCell broadband connectivity
beyond its Boeing 767-200 planes.
American Airlines currently has a fleet of 15 767-200 aircraft. American and
AirCell are going to share profits from the internet service. The revenue will
be a welcome addition to the bottom line for American in a time when fuel costs
are at record highs and the airline industry is looking to new methods of
offsetting fuel costs.
The AirCell Gogo service will normally cost passengers on American Airlines
flights offering the service $12.95 on flights over three hours and $9.95 for
shorter flights. The airline also says that while users will be able to
download videos and large documents the AirCell system will prioritize data
flow so a few users eating lots of bandwidth won’t make it impossible for other
passengers to do things like check email. The AirCell service will allow users
VPN access to corporate networks and to use chat programs on both laptops and
other connected devices like Blackberry’s.
American Airlines first announced
it would offer in-flight Wi-Fi service in August of 2007. AirCell and
competitor JetBlue won
licenses for in-flight Wi-Fi in June of 2006.