Last week, I wrote about the possibility of Internet access becoming available on airplanes in the near future.  Then on June 19th, Walter S. Mossberg had an article in the Wall Street Journal on how Internet access will become available (subscription required) on planes starting this summer. I guess he read it here first. 😉

On a few select routes, the web will be available to those with Wi-Fi enabled devices.  Gogo, the Internet service that will be available on American Airlines, and later on Virgin America, lets passengers email, browse, instant message, and do basically everything that Internet access provides on land.  The only things that won’t be available are any voice conversation programs and phone calls. 

Mossberg, who had a chance to experience the Gogo service in a test jet, compared it to being in at his desk or in a Starbucks. It works at a good speed and downloading anything is easy.  

There is a small fee for Gogo: $9.95 for trips under 3 hours, and $12.95 for longer ones.  Users need to sign up and log in for access. Other passengers can use it for free, but will only have access to a very limited area, such as the American Airlines web site.

Aircell, the company that owns Gogo, has 92 towers throughout that work much like cell phone towers, with the signal being picked up by a receiver on the side of the plane.  The company is confident that Gogo will be a success, and then possibly become available on flights everywhere.

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