The Changing Face of Internet in the SkiesMay 22nd, 2014 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on The Changing Face of Internet in the Skies
If you’ve ever traveled a long distance, you know that it can get boring. It can also make a busy person feel like they’re wasting a lot of time being out of touch in the air. Fortunately, technology is catching up with time in the sky. Wireless internet is becoming more widely available, making it possible to stay connected all of the time.
Gogo, one such company, has partnered with Aeromexico, American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Japan Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America to offer on board Wi-Fi to airplane passengers.
Gogo is the dominant provider of inflight wireless access, and (generally) customers seem happy to have the service available. While it doesn’t work perfectly (or as well as on-the-ground-wireless) it is certainly an improvement over nothing. Overall though, it lacks consistency. Part of this is due to limited bandwidth, which Gogo is working to improve.
Fees vary depending upon length of flight and particular airline, and are as high as $29.95 for a day pass. Currently, only about six percent of passengers purchase onboard internet, which seems like something of a low number. It’s actually helpful to those using internet, though—more connections mean slower, less reliable internet.
Most companies contracted with Gogo are in exclusive contacts until 2018, when it is expected that AT&T will offer more competitive pricing. There will likely be other competitors that enter the marketplace at that time too.
On May 5, 2014 Gogo announced the launch of a new content platform called Concourse. Available through the Gogo home page (gogoair.com) or at concourse, gogoair.com, the new site will focus on providing content related to the technologies used in bringing Internet into moving airplanes, as well as behind the scenes looks at the company, and travel/technology news. The move is likely an attempt to gain popularity and establish a secure following before competition sets in.
The great thing about onboard wireless is the opportunity to conduct business while you’re already seated for a set period of time—time that is otherwise wasted. It allows us to enjoy our vacations more thoroughly, knowing that we’ve already accomplished some work. For business travelers, it allows for more complete preparation.