Posts Tagged ‘Row 44’
Have you experienced in-flight Wi-Fi yet? If not, and you’re a frequent traveler, it won’t be long before you do. The presence of in-flight Wi-Fi is picking up steam. Just this month, Delta announced that it is rolling out Wi-Fi on all of its regional jets, and plans to include other Delta Connection Jets by early next year. Other carriers such as Virgin America, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest have also boosted their in-flight connectivity capabilities to meet the growing consumer demand, although not necessarily on every aircraft yet.
According to in-flight provider Gogo (the product name for Aircell’s in-flight internet), Wi-Fi connectivity is used more for in-flight entertainment than work purposes. In a study that Gogo conducted, only 6% of passengers used in-flight Wi-Fi for work purposes, compared to 27% who said they used it to play games, watch movies, or both. With Gogo, customers can “buy before you fly.” The company offers two choices, a 24-hour pass for $12.95 or the unlimited plan for $39.95 per month. Air Tran and Delta are even putting mention of their Wi-Fi capabilities in the bottom of confirmation emails sent to passengers with their flight information.
Gogo is the brand behind Delta and eight other carriers’ on board connectivity, but another in-flight Wi-Fi provider is also starting to make a name for itself, called Row 44. This Wi-Fi entertainment platform has already rolled out on a number of Southwest planes, and plans to have all of Southwest’s fleet equipped by 2013. Through Row 44, Southwest charges a $5 flat fee for in-flight Wi-Fi. Here’s the major difference. Aircell is a land-antenna-based system while Row 44 is a satellite-based system. Row 44 also aims to create an in-flight entertainment experience that’s distinct for each individual airline, whereas Aircell’s Gogo provides internet access on board, without other entertainment options. Regardless who the provider is, I anticipate that in-flight Wi-Fi will soon become a means for airlines to differentiate themselves from one another, and direct marketing channels will be used to promote this new and enhanced service as it continues to grow.