Gogo Inflight Internet by Aircell and GroundLink’s LimoRes.com today announced a partnership and promotion to give air travelers free, inflight wifi.
The way you get the freebie is pretty standard: while you’re flying access Gogo’s portal, look for the ground transportation link and book a limo from the airport in your destination city. Wait for a promotional code to arrive in your e-mail inbox. It’s good for one free, inflight internet session. You can redeem it immediately or on a later flight.
Typically, Gogo Inflight internet costs about $5 an hour, $13 a day and $40 per month for mobile pc users. It costs slightly less for users of wireless enabled mobile devices. Gogo’s services are available on 3,500 daily flights in the continental U.S. according to a press statement by Aircell.
The Groundlink and Aircell deal begins Tuesday (Aug. 10) and will continue “hopefully indefinitely,” says the chief executive of GroundLink Alex Mashinsky.
A long-time telecommunications entrepreneur, inventor and investor, Mashinsky has been on a mission to provide voice and web connectivity everywhere on the ground and underground in the U.S.
He recently embarked on a project rigging up New York City’s limos and livery cars with outlets (to charge electronics) and antennae, in order to provide ad-supported roving wifi services. The free wifi would be available to passengers, drivers and anyone within a range of 400 feet.
Another company Mashinsky heads up, QWireless, is part of a joint venture bringing wifi and cellular signals to 277 NYC subway stations and tunnels.
Mashinsky approached Aircell’s Gogo Internet group, he says, because travelers crave connectivity.
“We wanted to take the office experience and expand it door to door,” the CEO explained “so you can take your car to the airport, stay connected to your phone and wireless internet even charging your devices on the way, then get through the airport still connected, board the plane and continue your work. You can do a conference or anything else without interruption or power or connectivity no matter where you go.”
GroundLink will pay a fee to Gogo for each air traveler who is motivated to book a ride via LimoRes.com through the promotion. But its rates per ride will not differ from what LimoRes offers to those who book otherwise.
Mashinsky notes that reserving a limo sounds more expensive than it is to many consumers. A Taxi ride from Newark to Mashinsky’s office in New York City recently cost his marketing director $72, while a limo ride cost the (delighted) CEO $70.
In 1991, Jimmy Ray was having lunch in a barbecue restaurant in the small town of Denison, Texas. He made some sketches on a paper napkin of an idea he had for an affordable yet simple telephone system for airplanes. Later that same year, Ray founded a company. And the rest is Aircell history. Using cellular frequencies and off-the-shelf equipment to provide affordable voice and data communications for aircraft seemed a little bizarre when Aircell proposed it over 20 years...
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