American Airlines to Offer Faster Wi-Fi via ViaSat

By Paul Riegler on 9 November 2016
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DSC_0629American Airlines said Wednesday it plans to install faster Wi-Fi service on over 500 aircraft in its mainline fleet, switching suppliers from incumbent Gogo to ViaSat, which also powers JetBlue Airways’ popular Fly-Fi service.

American, which has the distinction of not only having been the first U.S. airline to offer in-flight Internet back in 2008 but also has one of the largest Wi-Fi-enabled fleets in the world, also placed an order last June for Wi-Fi equipment on 100 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft. At the same time Gogo received a contract to install its new 2KU satellite-based service on over 130 Airbus A319 and A320 single-aisle jets. The original Gogo service uses air-to-ground technology, while newer systems use much faster satellite technology. The new ViaSat order is in addition to the June order.

While American was the first U.S. carrier to offer in-flight Internet, Lufthansa was the first airline to actually do so as the launch customer for the short-lived Connexion by Boeing service, which was also satellite based.

American, as well as United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, were also slated to install the Boeing service but cancelled their participation in the project after the attacks of September 11, 2001, which precipitated a significant drop in air travel.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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