Virgin America is hoping to lure new passengers to its airline, with a new in-flight Wi-Fi service available on board its Airbus A320 aircraft.
“Gogo,” as the service is called, allows passengers to surf the web, use email and instant messaging, download files, and connect to secure networks. Internet-based VoIP calling has been blocked by the airline, however, in an attempt to spare passengers the annoyance of overhearing the conversations of seat mates.
Gogo uses air-to-ground technology from Aircell to connect passengers to the internet at DSL-comparable speeds. It is available on a pay-per-use basis at a cost of $9.95 or $12.95 depending on the duration of the flight.
Virgin plans to expand Gogo to an additional 24 plans by the middle of next year. A number of other carriers, including Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta, and Continental, plan to introduce in-flight Wi-Fi services within the next few months.
American Airlines already offers in-flight broadband on 15 of its planes, giving it an early lead in providing this developing service.
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