American Airlines Testing In-Flight Broadband
American Airlines will begin testing in-flight broadband today on a flight between New York and Los Angeles.
American has partnered with technology provider Aircell to offer the service. A larger test on flights between New York and San Francisco and between New York and Miami will be in the coming weeks. The airline may also expand the service beyond its Boeing 767-200 planes.
Passengers will be able to download videos, use email, instant messaging and access corporate networks using their laptops or handheld devices.
Aircell’s Gogo service will be free today. Once the initial test phase is complete, it will cost $12.95 for passengers to use the service on flights longer than three hours and $9.95 for shorter flights. Voice-based functions will not be enabled.
The system will control the flow of data so users downloading movies or large files will not interfere with other passengers accessing email.
American and Aircell have tested the service for the last three months on the airlines 15-plane fleet of Boeing 767-200s, but today is the first time passengers will have a chance to use the service.
Jack Blumenstein, Aircell’s president and chief executive said the company is in talks with a number of other airlines and plans to have the service available on hundreds of planes by the end of this year and thousands by the end of 2009, according to the Dallas Morning News.