American Airlines Testing New, Faster Internet On International Flights

American Airlines Testing New, Faster Internet On International Flights

American Airlines offers outstanding inflight WiFi service on its domestic fleet, though it does so while charging more money than any of its competitors. Delta, JetBlue, and JSX offer WiFi free, though it’s otherwise an $8 product – though frequently $20 for a flight at American.

The carrier’s international WiFi has been horrible, though. Unlike domestic WiFi (mostly ViaSat, with some satellite Gogo service), widebody internet is from Panasonic and it’s been with older equipment and limited bandwidth. They charge a premium price for service that frequently barely functions.

The expectation has been that this would change, with new delivery aircraft moving to ViaSat. However, aviation watchdog JonNYC reports a test of better Panasonic wifi on long haul planes.

The test will be on Dallas, New York JFK and Los Angeles – London flights “20, 51, 100, 107, 134/136, [and] 135/137.”

The airline will “ask flight service to announce it extensively on all such widebody flights so passengers know it won’t be the ridiculously slow Panasonic system they’ve had in the past.” I am confident those words will not be in the official announcement, but that seems to capture both the truth and the motivation.

Apparently the change here is both to hardware (modem) and to agreed-upon bandwidth being supplied to the plane, according to Seth Miller,

Hopefully the increased bandwidth ‘tests’ well and expands, irrespective of the introduction of a new provider. American Airlines charges too much for internet and delivers too little on its international flights. And that’s no longer acceptable in a world where Delta is moving to ViaSat on its international aircraft.

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