American Airlines to offer Wi-fi in domestic flights

Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 10:58 by Aviation Correspondent

American Airlines plans to provide Wi-Fi internet services to its domestic flights.

 

Wi-Fi on American Airlines planes

Wi-Fi on American Airlines planes

It will provide high-speed internet connection to over 300 of its planes used for domestic flights, by 2011.

 

The Wi-Fi service will not be a freebie, though. Laptop users flying American Airlines will have to pay $9.95 on flights shorter than three hours, and $12.95 on longer flights, for the service.

On the other hand, American Airlines’ passengers who use smartphones and PDAs will have to shell out $7.95 irrespective of the duration of the flight.

In order to avoid interruptions in communication with air traffic control, the Wi-fi connection will be available for passengers after a heigh of 10,000 feet has been reached.

Doug Backelin, manager of inflight communications and technology, of American Airlines has been quoted as saying that the company has successfully completed tests with Wi-Fi provider Aircell LLC.

Backelin said that American Airlines will provide its fleet of 150 MD-80 aircraft with a wireless ground-based Internet service, Gogo, in 2009.

It will equip its Boeing Co 737-800 fleet of planes by 2011.

In 2008, American Airlines started offering Internet services on its 15 Boeing 767-200 planes on some sectors.

American Airlines will not allow pornography and voice calls on the internet. The voice call services provided by Skype and googlechat will be disabled by Gogo.

Other airlines, such as Delta, Virgin America, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue are also planning to offer the Wi-fi internet connection on its planes.

Delta Airlines aims to make the Wi-fi service available to its planes by 2009 end, and to Northwest planes, which it has acquired recently, by the end of 2010.

All Virgin America planes will equip all its 28 planes with Wi-Fi, by end-June 2009.

Meanwhile, American Airlines is also renovating its Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge at London Heathrow Airport, which will be done in phases so that some parts of the facilities are available till such time the project is completed, likely in 2010.

When the Admirals Club lounge is renovated, it will be large enough for seating 230 visitors, in a more spacious and open-looking area.

The renovated Admirals Club will have shower suites, a children’s room with TV, computers, Wi-Fi, a cyber cafe, and a remodeled business center.

Reports say that the American Airlines Flagship Lounge, at the the London Heathrow Airport, will be expanded to 8,000 square feet of lounge space, and will seat 134 customers.

The remodeld Flagship Lounge visitors offer travelers shower suites, a cyber cafe, Wi-Fi, and two TV lounges with flat-panel televisions.