American Airlines spent a lot of money recently to upgrade its fleet. Now they reached a new milestone: offering more planes than any other airline with high-speed Wi-Fi. They just finished installing and upgrading their entire long-term mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. Passengers can now up-/download large files, browsing the web, watching one of the 12 live TV channels and that even with every passenger online simultaneously. A truly remarkable achievement. The only thing not allowed yet is using your own streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. However, American Airlines just introduces unlimited Apple Music streaming.
Read more: Access Apple Music for Free in Flight
American’s domestic narrowbody planes are equipped with either Gogo 2Ku or ViaSat Ka. Both are satellite operated and connect via satellites in the sky rather than towers on the ground. Satellite-based communication is on the rise, as SpaceX just launched its first batch of Starlink satellites.
But on the downside, the airline is no longer investing in seat-back infotainment systems. Now you have to bring your own device to watch movies and use the content they make available. It’s not really a bad thing as you get probably a bigger and better screen as the old in-flight entertainment systems used to offer. The downside is however, you need to keep your devices charged. This wouldn’t be a problem if there would be adequate power outlets on planes.
That’s a point where American Airlines is still behind. On my recent flights, less than one-quarter of the planes had power outlets at the seats. Not even First Class had power outlets. If the plane had power outlets at the seats, it was the crappy version American installed. If you plug in an actual charger, it won’t stick in the outlet and will fall out easy with the slightest movement.
More power outlets in American Airlines planes are on their list and is one of their next projects. I hope they buy at least good outlets, where you can use the actual 110V power socket rather than being forced to use the slow charging USB port. Besides the power outlets, the airline will also install tablet holders for hands-free entertainment and power outlets will be located close to the tablet to make it easy to charge the devices without tripping over wires while trying to get out of your seat.
I can’t wait for the day when high-speed Wi-Fi will be complimentary as well. Some airlines have promotions for free in-flight internet, while others offer it for free to their top-tier customers. Let’s see where the trend goes. Hopefully, it goes the same way as in-flight entertainment. Remember when we got charged to watch movies aboard a plane? These times are gone.
Kudos American, I hope you continue like this, even when you give us smaller lavatories and try to get more seats in planes as previously. Keep advancing forward not backward. See you guys soon on a future flight.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.