Inflight internet to GoGo worldwide - including Australia

By danwarne, March 11 2011
Inflight internet to GoGo worldwide - including Australia

Popular US inflight internet service GoGo is set to go worldwide by 2015.

GoGo parent company Aircell says the global version of the system will use a satellite link to planes, rather than hundreds of mobile phone towers pointed at the sky, as in the US GoGo system.

GoGo is currently offered on most major US airlines: at last count there were 1,077 Wi-Fi internet-enabled planes from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Virgin America, Frontier, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, AirTran and Air Canada.

Read our review of GoGo inflight internet onboard Virgin America:
Virgin America: flying the friendly iPod of the skies?

(US carrier Southwest Airlines uses a different satellite-based service called Row 44, and recently announced it would offer download of iTunes movies and TV episodes via the satellite link.)

GoGo is exceedingly well priced in the US: $4.95 for a flight up to 1.5 hours, $9.95 up to 3 hours, $11.00 for a 24 hour pass, $34.95 for a month, and $49.95 for an any-length six-flight pack.

More than 6,000 aircraft worldwide already have GoGo technology on-board, the company claims. However, until now, the service has been strictly available on domestic US flights because it relies on mobile phone towers beaming signals from the ground to the plane and back.

GoGo won't be the first internationally-available inflight broadband: Panasonic Avionics is already offering it under the "eXconnect" brand, and a joint venture between Airbus and SITA is offering inflight broadband called OnAir.

Satellite company Inmarsat will launch a worldwide inflight internet service called Global Xpress in 2015 -- the same year GoGo plans to go global.

Emirates plans to use OnAir across its fleet of 90 A380s from June 2012, while Singapore Airlines will offer it from May this year (we recently reported on the proposed pricing).

Air New Zealand is currently trialling inflight Internet on selected domestic services between Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

Cathay Pacific also recently said its inflight internet service was on the drawing board. It announced in 2009 that it would be using the Panasonic eXconnect system.

Qantas' A380s are capable of being connected to the net, and even have a web browser in the inflight entertainment system, and Wi-Fi switched on in the plane, but the airline continues to maintain that is has nothing to announce yet about its plans to hook it up to a live internet connection.

Virgin Blue boss John Borghetti recently said Australian passengers are clearly ready for inflight internet, and the airline would offer it as soon as the supporting infrastructure was available.

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