American Airways is presently spending billions of dollars a calendar year pushing a transformation of its product or service. Not all of these are beneficial enhancements. “Project Oasis” is squeezing legroom on additional than five hundred domestic aircraft. Meanwhile, AA’s latest planes don’t have IFE screens and have pretty tiny bathrooms in overall economy.
Nevertheless, AA isn’t spending $one.8 billion this calendar year just to make overall economy even worse. It’s in the approach of adding a accurate high quality overall economy cabin to all global aircraft, opening new (and really amazing) Flagship Lounges and is ditching gradual Gogo online for satellite-based Wi-Fi. And, this Wi-Fi installation approach isn’t a tiny process. When it is finish by the finish of June 2019, about 900 mainline aircraft will give fast satellite-based Wi-Fi.
While AA has finished the approach on all of its widebody and global aircraft, travellers are however disappointed with gradual ground-based Gogo online on its domestic fleet. And, that’s with great explanation. In a modern presentation, AA showed it was only thirteen% finish with the narrowbody retrofit at the finish of March:
So, TPG caught up with the group at American Airways this week to see how the retrofit approach is going. Here’s the present condition of American Airlines’ Wi-Fi as of mid-July 2018:
Panasonic is the least complicated of these online membership programs to have an understanding of, as American Airways has put in satellite-based Panasonic Wi-Fi on all of its widebody and global aircraft. This contains all:
- 15 Airbus A330-two hundred
- 9 Airbus A330-three hundred
- 24 Boeing 757-two hundred utilised for global functions
- 24 Boeing 767-three hundred
- 47 Boeing 777-200ER
- 20 Boeing 777-300ER
- 20 Boeing 787-8
- 16 Boeing 787-9
Pricing is similar on every single flight — irrespective of whether the flight is two hours from Dallas to Miami or 16 hours from Dallas to Hong Kong: $twelve for two hours, $seventeen for 4 hours or $19 for the overall flight.
The draw back is Panasonic hasn’t been the swiftest or most trusted online support service provider. On TPG‘s modern review of AA’s Boeing 757 small business course, speeds were a paltry one.56Mbps to two.8Mbps down load and .1Mbps add. Equally, I seasoned gradual adequate online on a modern AA transatlantic A330 flight that I was equipped to effectively petition for a refund.
In June 2016, American Airways selected satellite-based online service provider ViaSat for its 737 MAX aircraft. Shortly later on, it decided on ViaSat to substitute ground-based Gogo internet observed on much of its fleet. Here’s how that retrofit stands as of mid-July 2018:
- Airbus A319 (legacy AA aircraft): out of 32 (%)
- Airbus A321: 38 out of 219 finish (seventeen%)
- Boeing 737-800: sixty nine out of 304 finish (23%)
- Boeing 737 MAX 8: all twelve have been sent with ViaSat put in (100%)
In January 2018, I examined the ViaSat relationship on AA’s 737 MAX from NYC to Miami. While add speeds weren’t the very best, down load speeds were great. And this check was carried out when ViaSat was however currently being produced available to all travellers for free of charge on these 737 MAX flights.
Since then, I have utilised ViaSat on a few of domestic 737-800 flights. And speeds were fast adequate that I did not even think to do a pace check. I was equipped to operate just as fast as I typically do on the ground.
Probably in a hurry to get satellite-based online on all of its aircraft as soon as feasible, AA did not give ViaSat all of its satellite-based Wi-Fi installation small business. In its place, it also selected to operate with Gogo to put in its swiftest 2Ku option on 151 of the airline’s legacy-US Airways (“LUS”) domestic fleet:
- Airbus A319 (LUS aircraft): fifty one out of ninety three (fifty five%)
- Airbus A320: 45 out of forty eight finish (ninety four%)
- Boeing 757 (Hawaii fleet): 4 out of ten finish (40%)
We have not gotten a speedtest of these new Gogo 2Ku aircraft but, as I actively stay clear of LUS aircraft. Nevertheless, Gogo has explained to us that 2Ku and its upgraded modem is “capable of offering up to 400Mbps” of bandwidth on each aircraft. While that pace is shared amid all buyers on the aircraft, that’s adequate for absolutely everyone connected to get a fast relationship. Some travelers have reported clocking about 130Mbps on AA flights.
Which Aircraft Aren’t Having Wi-Fi
Of American Airlines’ mainline fleet, only the MD-80s and Embraer 190s are not incorporated in this Wi-Fi installation job. And each of people aircraft forms are intended to be retired by the finish of 2018.
Sadly, AA’s regional “American Eagle” carriers are not acquiring the similar interest. Ground-based Gogo is going to keep on to be the norm — if you get Wi-Fi at all.
Using Gogo Month-to-month Move to Entry ViaSat
AA’s 737 MAX aircraft were the 1st to be put in with ViaSat Wi-Fi. And, in buy to preserve from upsetting present Gogo subscribers, the airline waited until Gogo subscribers could utilize their approach on ViaSat right before putting up the paywall on these 737 MAX aircraft. But, this resolution isn’t just for the MAX. Tourists with a Gogo membership can log into the Wi-Fi on all 119 (and counting) aircraft put in with ViaSat.
On a modern AA 737-800 flight, I received a chance to see for myself how this approach worked. On the proper side of the Wi-Fi landing monitor, there’s a backlink to backlink for travellers who “Have a Gogo Membership.” Clicking this prompts Gogo subscribers to log into their account to achieve obtain to that flight’s ViaSat Wi-Fi.
While I’m brief to place out AA’s passenger-unfriendly improvements and perplexing procedures, American Airways warrants recognition for how it is strengthening in other factors. Swift installation of fast satellite-based Wi-Fi on its aircraft is 1 of the areas wherever it warrants credit score.
The airline has long gone from only currently being thirteen% finish with its domestic Wi-Fi installation approach at the finish of March to about thirty% finish in mid-May — accounting for additional than 1 installation for every day about that period. With almost five hundred aircraft to retrofit and a goal of finishing by the finish of June 2019, it is going to be retrofitting at least ten aircraft for every week for the next calendar year. If you are like me and value remaining connected, you must start off noticing much quicker Wi-Fi on American Airways aircraft.