A week ago I covered a rumor that American Airlines is considering offering free inflight wifi. Now with additional confirmation from well-placed company sources I can report that the airline expects to offer onboard internet for free.
What form the offering takes and when this will be announced and rolled out may not yet be determined.
With Delta having just tested free on board internet, the airline has prepared itself for the need to respond in-kind. That’s the model American’s President Robert Isom described to employees last fall — that they wanted to charge for internet, but competitors could force them to offer it free.
- They’re probably not going to announce free internet before Delta. If Delta decides after their test not to move forward, American can keep charging.
- They’re probably not going to offer faster speeds for free than Delta. If Delta offers only ‘basic’ internet free, with higher speeds for a charge, American can be expected to match this.
It’s still possible that American pulls the trigger sooner but the consensus inside the company appears to be to wait to see what Delta does and copy their announcement.
This plan was already in place before United’s President Scott Kirby shared during their earnings call this past week that his airline intended to offer wifi for free as well.
Nearly two years ago American Airlines announced that they would offer free inflight texted and then didn’t do it so they’ve been known to back off of plans like this, however the current road map inside the company is to offer some form of on board internet free to all passengers.