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American Airlines Partners with Intelsat for Fast Wi-Fi on 500 Regional Aircraft

High-speed Wi-Fi will now be available across American’s domestic, regional, and international routes

by Samir Kadri

December 5, 2023

Photo: American Airlines, Embraer E175. Courtesy of Forsaken Films / Unsplash

American Airlines plans to equip nearly 500 regional aircraft with high-speed Wi-Fi in partnership with Intelsat, with the work expected to take two years starting in 2024.

American Airlines will use Intelsat’s advanced Electronically Steered Array (ESA) antennae to provide fast and low latency connectivity to its passengers while in the air. The ESA technology is highly effective due to its multi-orbit capabilities, allowing it to operate on both Intelsat’s network of geostationary satellites and on a constellation of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

This new technology will enable regional aircraft to offer the same fast Wi-Fi speeds currently available on American’s mainline fleet. American Airlines currently provides high-speed Wi-Fi on over 900 mainline aircraft and aims to increase the number of satellite-connected aircraft to over 1,400 with the updates to its regional aircraft fleet.

Photo: American Airlines regional jets. Courtesy of Miguel Ángel Sanz / Unsplash

However, American’s onboard connectivity comes at a cost, with Wi-Fi packages starting at $10. Passengers on connecting flights can purchase day passes to avoid paying twice, while frequent flyers can choose from monthly or annual plans to get the best value for their money.

While some major carriers worldwide offer complimentary Wi-Fi for passengers, American Airlines is sticking to its policy of charging for Wi-Fi. Delta Air Lines offers free Wi-Fi to customers who sign up for their free-to-join initiative, SkyMiles, while JetBlue provides Wi-Fi on most of its flights at no cost.

American Airlines assures customers that its Wi-Fi product is worth the cost, and with the planned purchase of this new technology, the airline is reinforcing its commitment to providing a consistent and connected experience for customers on all of its connectivity-equipped flights. Passengers will be able to stream, browse, check email, and even log onto VPN while inflight.