American Airlines has begun passenger tests of its new “Gogo” in-flight wifi internet service. The carrier has fitted its 15-strong fleet of 767-200 aircraft with the Aircell technology, and is carrying out tests today on flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles. A spokesperson for AA said that the purpose of the tests is to study “how a variety of web services, such as browsing, streaming video, and file attachment downloads – to name just a few – impact the service during a live commercial flight”. Depending on the outcome of these tests, wifi services on the remainder of the 767-200 fleet will be switched on over the next few weeks. During the test period, passengers will not be charged to access the service, but once it goes live users will pay US$12.95 for the duration of the flight (although there will be free access to AA’s website). Gogo can be accessed through wifi-enabled laptops and PDAs, and the carrier says that if the roll-out is successful, it could be extended to the rest of AA’s domestic fleet. Note though that access is limited to data-transfer only, so services such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) will not be available. For more information visit aa.com.
Report by Mark Caswell