Alaska Airlines announced it will install Aircell's popular Gogo in-flight wireless service on its aircraft. The carrier had previously been linked to Row 44, a competing provider whose main client is Southwest.
The selection of Gogo surprised many, because unlike Row 44, which uses satellite-based connectivity to deliver access, Gogo relies on ground-based towers to transmit a signal. Alaska Airlines, however, flies across vast swaths of undeveloped land in Alaska, meaning Aircell will have to add infrastructure before the carrier can deliver the service to its hometown customers. In its release, the airline said, "Aircell will expand its network to provide Gogo Inflight Internet service on flights to, from and between, key destinations in the state of Alaska," suggesting that some destinations in Alaska will be without the service, at least initially.
Alaska will quickly install Gogo on one of its Boeing 737-800s, and use that aircraft to test the service. There is no set timetable for full installation, but the carrier will begin installing Gogo on its 737-800s that serve long-haul routes once it receives its certification to operate in-flight wireless. Pricing will likely follow the standard Gogo menu, which starts at $4.95 for flights.