Remember the first time you connected to WiFi on a commercial flight? It was awesome! But now, almost 10 years later, data-obsessed passengers are getting sick of the slow Gogo-enabled WiFi found on most domestic flights.
Luckily, at least one airline is finally doing something about it.
On Friday American Airlines filed a lawsuit in a Texas court asking a judge to allow the company to break its current contract with inflight WiFi provider Gogo.
Essentially, the contract between the two companies has a clause that would allow American Airlines to switch providers if it can find another product that “materially improves” on Gogo’s current offering.
The Star-Telegram has details of the lawsuit, which says “After carefully evaluating the new technology and services in the marketplace, American has decided to exercise its rights under the agreement and recently notified Gogo that ViaSat offers an in-flight connectivity system that materially improves on Gogo’s air-to-ground system”.
ViaSat is a competing service used by United, JetBlue, and Virgin America, and offers a satellite-based WiFi experience that is “8 to 10 times faster” than any existing inflight WiFi solutions.
For comparison, Gogo’s current offering on American Airlines is a ground-based system that provides a total bandwidth capacity of less than 10 Mbps for the entire plane.
While Gogo has developed a satellite-based solution that offers up to 70Mbps per plane, the new technology (called 2Ku), hasn’t been rolled out to any American planes yet.
Now either a judge will rule on the lawsuit, or the two companies will come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. However one thing is certain – if you are an American flyer, faster WiFi is in your future.