United Airlines (UAUA) is the latest carrier to start selling inflight wi-fi Internet access. United will offer access later this year via Aircell’s Gogo service on select flights between New York-JFK and San Francisco/Los Angeles.
Our question: Is anyone using this stuff so far on Gogo’s other partner airlines like American and Virgin America? (We flew on a Gogo-enabled American flight last week, but chose sleep over the Internet.)
Or will slow uptake force Gogo to shut down the service — like Boeing phased out its Connexion inflight wi-fi service a few years ago?
The big differences between now and then: More laptops and smartphones with built-in wi-fi chips. And Boeing was reportedly trying to charge a laughable $30 on some flights for service. Gogo is a more reasonable $13 on American flights.
We’re waiting to hear back from an Aircell rep with some usage metrics; we’ll update if they share anything.
Update: Aircell’s rep wouldn’t share usage information, as they see it as “confidential to Aircell and its airline partners.”
But she said “passenger feedback has been overwhelmingly positive” and that “42% of our most recent sales inflight were from people that have used Gogo previously.” This suggests 58% are new customers.
That’s not terrible, but since Aircell is so new, we’re not sure it’s great, either. Seems like regular fliers are using it repeatedly. But we still don’t know what the actual volume is.