Hooked On Gogo Inflight: Delta The Latest To Offer Aircell Service

American Airlines and Virgin America began offering Wi-Fi Internet earlier this year through Aircell's Gogo Inflight service, according to Aircell. Itasca, Ill.-based Aircell hopes to have Gogo service available on 2,000 commercial aircraft by the end of 2009.

"2009 promises to be Aircell's most extraordinary year yet. We are ending 2008 on a high note with the recent launch of Virgin America and upcoming launch of Delta Air Lines and are poised to carry the momentum into the new year and beyond," said Jack Blumenstein, president and CEO of Aircell, in a statement.

Most major U.S. airlines are in discussions with or have already contractually committed to providing Gogo Inflight during flights, according to Aircell. The service costs typically $9.95 for flights less than three hours and $12.95 for flights longer than three hours.

"Innovative airlines that offer inflight Internet are already seeing a migration of passengers from those airlines that do not offer this highly valued service," Blumenstein said in the statement. "Business travelers and leisure travelers alike are hooked on Gogo."

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The inflight Internet debuted on American Airlines' 767-200 fleet in August and on Virgin America in November and is expected to begin on Air Canada flights in 2009. Also next year, Aircell plans to add inflight games, television, movies and music offerings to generate more revenue.

Gogo initially will be offered on Delta's fleet of 133 MD88/90 aircraft and will expand to more than 200 Boeing 737, 757 and 767-300 aircraft throughout the first half of 2009, according to Aircell and Delta. Delta expects to have inflight Internet service on more than 330 aircraft by summer 2009. "Providing inflight Internet service on airplanes was only the beginning," said Tom Weigman, executive vice president of wireless services at Aircell, in a statement. "Our Wi-Fi devices have become portals to life, enabling us to work, play and relate wherever and whenever we want. Having opened up the airplane cabin to the Internet, we look forward to dramatically enriching the passenger inflight experience by providing the services and content they desire."

During 2008, Aircell completed a nationwide network of cell towers and received FAA approval to install its equipment on commercial airlines.