Internal Document Shows When American Airlines Will Have Fast Wifi

American’s domestic fleet will be served by two satellite internet providers:

  • When American announced their plan for satellite internet, 140 planes were announced for Gogo’s 2Ku. and they indicated that regional jets would keep their current air to ground Gogo installations.

  • In addition to Gogo, which provides the current air-to-ground internet for American’s planes, they’re buying satellite internet from ViaSat. We’ll see some Boeing 737-800s with ViaSat this fall and the new 737 MAX aircraft will be ViaSat-equipped as well.

This is in addition to international widebodies with Panasonic internet.

In the middle of last year American started flying its first plane with high speed satellite internet. I lucked into flying the aircraft at the beginning of November, and internet worked though I was surprised it wasn’t faster. I know what Gogo’s 2ku service can do unthrottled and I wasn’t getting anything like those speeds.


Speed Test Onboard Gogo’s 737 ‘Jimmy Ray’

I flew American’s inaugural 737 MAX flight at the end of November and the ViaSat satellite internet didn’t work well.

So far American hasn’t been charging for ViaSat internet on their handful of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Once they start American says that Gogo monthly internet subscriptions will work on both systems.

However the systems are rapidly being put in place for internet to work exceptionally fast (provided speeds aren’t throttled to passengers, though even if they are internet will work better than current air to ground technology).

And they’re being deployed more rapidly than I had realized. Here’s the schedule for retrofitting American’s narrowbody aircraft. American A320s and legacy US Airways A319s will have Gogo’s satellite 2Ku service with installations planned to be complete across both before the end of the year. Legacy American A319s and A321s are supposed to be complete with ViaSat satellite internet retrofits a year from now. The massive 737 fleet should have ViaSat within 15 months.

The 737 MAX fleet is listed as being complete with ViaSat internet at the end of 2022, but that’s not really right, each 737 MAX gets ViaSat internet from the outset and those planes are just now being delivered. So far they’ve received 3 or 4 out of the 100 planes they’ve ordered.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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