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Thu, May 14, 2009

WiFi On EVERY Flight? AirTran Airways Takes The Big Step

Aircell to Provide Inflight Hotspots Via Gogo Inflight Internet

Well... they've lost our luggage more times than we can count, delayed/canceled dozens of flights on us and its an airline that isn't on the top of our list when we find that our Cirrus G3 Turbo isn't up to the job due to weather or payload issues (with our Aero-TV crews, and all the gear, we have some serious loads to haul), but at least we'll be able to keep up on email... or the latest twitters. 

AirTran Airways has partnered up with Aircell to become what they claim will be the first 'major' airline to offer passengers wireless, broadband Internet access on every flight.

Aircell is equipping their entire fleet of Boeing 737 and 717 aircraft, all 136 jets, and expects to be equipped, fleet-wide, by mid-summer.

AirTran Airways passengers will have full Internet access including: Web, e-mail, instant messaging and access to corporate e-mail and network systems (virtual private networks) -- through their Wi-Fi enabled laptops, smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Gogo Inflight Internet will be available for a small fee based on the length of the flight.

"AirTran is known for catering to the needs of its passengers with style. Both its choice and rapid deployment of Gogo Inflight Internet service are testaments to AirTran's long-standing commitment to offer the best inflight experience possible," said Jack Blumenstein, president and CEO of Aircell. "Now that Gogo is here and available, passenger demand has taken off, exceeding even our own expectations. We look forward to enabling AirTran to provide the productivity, entertainment, information and social connectivity its passengers want."

Aircell has built a mobile broadband network for commercial and business aviation, that provides aircraft with connectivity to operations and a path to enhanced cabin services such as video, audio, television and more. Aircell's Gogo turns a commercial airplane into a Wi-Fi hotspot, so that passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs, can surf the Web, check e-mail, instant message, access a corporate VPN and more. A similar feature set is available to Business aircraft operators.

FMI: www.airtran.com, www.aircell.com, www.gogoinflight.com

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