USA Today reports that Amercian Airlines will Tuesday be announcing in-flight WiFi for all domestic flights, following a six month trial of the service on a limited number of flights.
AA has said will equip more than 300 planes used primarily for domestic flights with Aircell’s GoGo in-flight WiFi. According to USA Today, the service will cost $12.95 on flights over three hours, and $9.95 on shorter journeys. iPod Touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, and other smartphone owners can avail of the WiFi for a flat fee $7.95.
We love this idea. For a lot of people, flying is a pain in the behind. Putting aside how horribly terrifying it is for some (ahem), long flights can be insufferably boring. For this reason, the thought of WiFi on planes has always appealed to me. Despite concerns that people could be looking at NSFW content while sitting next to someone who may not want - or be old enough - to be subjected to said content and flight stewards complaints that they’d have to step in and ask them to stop, the idea that I could stay connected and muck around on YouTube or read hundreds of blogs to pass the time is definitely appealing.
The news follows a February announcement from Southwest Airlines saying it was testing in-flight WiFi on one of its jets (with three more to be added during March). Should passengers find themselves on a WiFi plane during the trial, they can use the service for free. While the GoGo technology used by AA operates via towers on the ground (and so, cannot be used for international flights), SWA is testing the service with a company called Row 44 and using a satellite network to provide broadband internet access, which could be used for overseas travel.
Delta Airlines also announced last summer that it would be offering WiFi on all 330 planes in North America. Delta also operates on Aircell's service and has identical pricing to the above prices listed for American Airlines, although there is no mention of a cheaper flat rate fee for handheld devices.
While we're on the topic of in-flight WiFi (and my love for SWA's decision to use the technology that might someday make it to transatlantic flights), check out this video of Southwest's rapping flight steward.