American Airlines launch aircraft based mobile broadband service
Internet in the air is making a comeback after various trials over the years. This time it is American Airlines who are launching a service, although again it is a three to six month trial. The service will be available on American's Boeing 767-200 fleet on non-stop flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles or New York and Miami.
Access is via WiFi on the plane which connects to Aircell's air-to-ground (ATG) broadband system which works once the aircraft has reached 10,000 feet. Users will be able to do all the usual Internet activity although VoIP is not available. The service costs $12.95 on flights longer than three hours. Delta Airlines also announced earlier this month that they were rolling the system out to more than 330 of their domestic aircraft fleet.
It is definitely encouraging to see airlines embracing Internet access in the air even if it is limited to domestic flights at the moment. In a similar vein, Ofcom consulted last year on the use of mobile phones onboard aircraft and Air France started trials with onair to offer mobile services in April.