American Airlines Adding Internet to ‘Dark’ 757s, Expected to Improve International Wifi Service Too

American Airlines has done a great job adding fast internet across their fleet. Connectivity – and thus inflight productivity – is a great reason to choose American (or Delta) over competitors.

There are, however, a few challenges.

  • American has (3) internet providers. ViaSat and Gogo offer high speed satellite internet to the domestic fleet. Regional jets have Gogo’s older air to ground system. However overwater aircraft are equipped with Panasonic internet which performs terribly.

  • There are a handful of planes, which were intended to see retirement soon, that were never given internet.

American’s fleet of Boeing 757s is a perfect example of the hodgepodge approach to inflight connectivity. Legacy American Airlines 757s have Panasonic. These were mostly international planes. Legacy US Airways 757s didn’t have internet at all. Half were given Gogo 2Ku fast satellite internet, and half were left dark with plans to send them to the desert.

However American’s fleet plan changed and the airline intends to keep the 757s in the fleet. JonNYC reported that they’re getting internet installed this spring. I confirmed that they’re getting internet, and for consistency with the other legacy US Airways 757s they’ll have Gogo 2Ku.

What’s really exciting is the rumor – that American Airlines will not confirm, but is not denying – that Panasonic is on the way out. I reported back in April that American was unhappy with Panasonic performance, and then in May JonNYC reported that ViaSat had been selected to provide internet for the new Boeing 787s they ordered last year. The question is how the rest of the international fleet will eventually see Panasonic systems replaced with an alternative as well.

The airline is presumably still waiting to see exactly when and how Delta plans to offer free inflight wifi as American’s intention has been to follow Delta’s lead and match their offer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. High speed internet on AA? That’s a joke! I flew AA277 yesterday MIA-LAX and could barely download my email. Webpages were a no go altogether.

  2. @Gaaryst16 – AA277 is a Boeing 777-300ER, an overwater aircraft equipped with Panasonic which is not high speed internet, it’s barely functional.

  3. Few things show the sad state of AA management more than AA waiting for DL to provide free internet. They used to provide free internet on their ViaSat planes, and most of their domestic fleet has the same or better equipment than what B6 provides free internet with. DL in the other hand has chosen inferior technology and has to wait for Gogo to get their act together.

    AA had a multi year technological lead over DL and Doug was and still is too dumb to take advantage of it.

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