A New Way to Wi-Fly!

Air, Travel Products & Services, Websites and Blogs, Wifi & Internet Cafes — By on May 20, 2009 at 8:40 am

lost girls trip departureI hate to pull the whole “when I was a kid I had to walk a hundred miles to school through a snow storm in bare feet” but when The Lost Girls were traveling around the world, we often had to scour remote villages for tiny huts containing 1980s PCs, wrestle other backpackers for an open station and then sit for centuries on cold plastic chairs battling painfully slow dial up connections and sudden computer crashes/power outages/foreign language screens – all just to send a simple email to family and friends. Personally, I preferred to limit this whole delightful process to once every couple weeks, but when you’re on a trip with two freelance journalists, who were pitching stories to their editors back in America, internet became as vital a part of our nomadic existence as, say, a backpack, Lonely Planet or bottled water.

So you can only imagine the panic that ensued after burning hours and sometimes days on end in transit on trains, planes, automobiles, rickshaws, elephants, etc. with no internet for miles. It was an Amazing Race-style frenzy the second we stepped our dusty toes into town, let me tell you – especially after the lengthy flight patterns required to circumnavigate the globe. Oh, if only we lived on a magic futuristic planet where mere peons such as ourselves had internet access in the air. Well my fellow lost ladies and gentlemen…drum roll please… now we do! And while Amanda, Holly and I didn’t have access to such technology during our RTW journey, all you domestic travel gods and goddesses out there should certainly take advantage of all the new inflight internet options if the need arises. So before you jet off to your next destination, check out what your jet can do for you.

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In-Flight Internet 101 / Why Fly without Wi-Fi

Latest News and Airline Updates:

In August 2008, American Airlines was the first airline to install Gogo Inflight Internet on its 767-200 aircraft that fly primarily transcontinental routes. In April 2009, the company announced the expansion of its relationship with Gogo and plans to install the service on 318 aircraft that fly primarily domestic routes. The installation schedule includes 150 MD-80 aircraft and 153 737s – this is roughly 50 percent of American’s entire fleet. Since its April announcement, American has installed the service on nearly 20 MD-80s, with plans to complete the 150 scheduled aircraft by the end of 2009. In addition, American is working to install Gogo on the new 737s this year, with plans to install the service on the current 737s beginning next year.

As the NY Times recently reported: AirTran, a low-cost carrier based in Orlando, Fla., surprised the industry last week with its announcement that it would install Aircell’s Gogo Inflight Internet service on its 50 Boeing 737s and 86 Boeing 717s by midsummer. Doing so would make AirTran the first domestic carrier to offer Wi-Fi on its entire fleet.

Delta Air Lines is also speedily installing Wi-Fi. It had previously announced that it was putting the service on its entire mainline domestic fleet of more than 300 aircraft, and said the day before the AirTran demonstration that it now had the Aircell Wi-Fi system on half its planes and would have the other half converted by September.

The rush to go Wi-Fi makes for an interesting horse race in the North American airline industry, where American Airlines, United, Virgin America and Air Canada are all installing Aircell’s Gogo system.

How it works/Getting Gogo:

gogo inflight wiFi According to gogoinflight.com, Gogo provides coverage on select partnering airlines across the continental United States at speeds similar to wireless broadband services on the ground. Once the aircraft reaches 10,000 feet and the captain gives the okay to turn on portable electronic devices, just sign up and log in.

Partnering airlines include: American Airlines, AirTran, Delta, United, Virgin America and Coming Soon! – Air Canada.

Pricing: Gogo Flight Passes
$12.95 – Unlimited Internet access on flights 3 hours and longer
$9.95 – Unlimited Internet access on flights shorter than 3 hours
$7.95 – Connect using your mobile device on any length flight

National Coverage and Map: The Aircell Network provides border-to-border, coast-to-coast wireless frequency coverage for inflight broadband utilizing Aircell’s patented technology and national, wholly-owned cellular network. This map predicts and approximates our wireless coverage area at an altitude of 10,000 feet, which may vary from location to location and may change without notice.

gogo wifi

Source: http://www.gogoinflight.com/jahia/Jahia/site/gogo/customerCare/coveragemap
This map does not guarantee service availability. Even within our nationwide coverage area, there are several factors that may interfere with actual service, quality, and availability, including the ability to initiate, validate, and maintain an inflight connection These factors include: network changes, aircraft and network traffic volume, service outages, technical limitations, signal strength, and other conditions.

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