Thanks to a couple of domestic airlines that have started offering Wi-Fi Internet access while traveling, those days of getting cut off from the internet will all be a passing cloud. The CEO and president of Aircell, Mr. Jack Blumenstein says that 2009 is the year for Wi-Fi on planes.
Aircell’s Gogo ® Inflight Internet service is currently on American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Virgin America Flights, and the company projects that by the end of the year, Gogo capabilities should be installed in over 1,200 aircrafts, covering the entire continent, and adding to the current 190 commercial planes already installed in flights operating in North America.
John Guidon, the CEO of Row 44, which also provides internet connectivity to Southwest and Alaska airlines, says that despite the fact it is currently only covering North America, by the third quarter of 2009, the company ought to provide the service to other areas as well.
Both companies would not disclose the total amount of installing Wi-Fi hot spots on airplanes, but it is apparent it may cost over $100,000 per plane. An airline industry pundit, Mr. Harlan Platt, says that having Wi-Fi on airplanes is a lucrative venture that ought to generate revenue for airlines in the process of being valuable to the passengers.
Aircell for instance charges $7.95 to passengers who want to use Wi-Fi enabled device, regardless of the length of the flight. The service is readily available to passengers immediately the plane gets to 10,000ft.
Questions are being raised of chances that passengers who are surfing may offend the people seated next to them by browsing unsuitable content, but Aircell CEO strongly believes that the chances are very slim. This he argues citing that there have not been any incidences in the 3 American airlines already Wi-Fi enabled.