Delta Air Lines and Gogo have announced the installation of Gogo’s next generation 2Ku technology, which can deliver peak speeds of 70 Mbps, on 250 of the airline’s narrow-body aircraft serving long-haul domestic, Latin American and Caribbean routes and on new international aircraft as they enter the fleet. Installation of 2Ku systems on existing aircraft will begin in 2016.
Steven Nolan, director of Public Relations & Communications at Gogo, tells us that use of this service “definitely leans towards the business traveller today,” but there are also many applications of the technology that would also be attractive to those passengers headed for the beaches. “Social media is certainly a big activity, but passengers can definitely use the service to research and access destination related information,” Nolan points out.
This new Gogo installation is strategically advantageous to Delta Air Lines, as spokesperson, Paul Skrbec, explains. With the current air-to-ground systems, “connectivity ends once the aircraft goes beyond approximately 100 miles outside of the continental US,” he tells us. But the higher-speed 2Ku connection is delivered by satellite, which extends the range of coverage. “This phase introduced a shift to satellite-based service rather than air-to-ground largely because aircraft needed to be connected while they routed over large bodies of water,” he says.
Skrbec tells us that Delta’s passengers enjoy using Gogo’s services whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure, though he indicates that it is impossible to track specific numbers of passengers using the connection for each of these applications at this time.
“This phase introduced a shift to satellite-based service rather than air-to-ground largely because aircraft needed to be connected while they routed over large bodies of water.”– Paul Skrbec, Delta Air Lines
“Feedback from our customers tells us that offering in-flight Wi-Fi is important regardless of the reason why they are traveling or activities they use Wi-Fi for in flight,” says Skrbec. “Our goal is to improve their travel by offering a service that is helpful.”
JetBlue, which offers Fly-Fi high-speed Internet connections on its aircraft, has recently restated its commitment to the Latin American and Caribbean market, including further expansion of its charter services to Cuba.
By adding Wi-Fi service to its Latin American and Caribbean routes, Delta is now better poised to compete in this hot market. “Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be an important focus for Delta. As a global carrier, having a strong network at all points of the globe is important to ensure customers have the most options when they travel,” says Skrbec.