American Airlines Testing New, Faster Internet On International Flights

American Airlines offers outstanding inflight WiFi service on its domestic fleet, though it does so while charging more money than any of its competitors. Delta, JetBlue, and JSX offer WiFi free, though it’s otherwise an $8 product – though frequently $20 for a flight at American.

The carrier’s international WiFi has been horrible, though. Unlike domestic WiFi (mostly ViaSat, with some satellite Gogo service), widebody internet is from Panasonic and it’s been with older equipment and limited bandwidth. They charge a premium price for service that frequently barely functions.

The expectation has been that this would change, with new delivery aircraft moving to ViaSat. However, aviation watchdog JonNYC reports a test of better Panasonic wifi on long haul planes.

The test will be on Dallas, New York JFK and Los Angeles – London flights “20, 51, 100, 107, 134/136, [and] 135/137.”

The airline will “ask flight service to announce it extensively on all such widebody flights so passengers know it won’t be the ridiculously slow Panasonic system they’ve had in the past.” I am confident those words will not be in the official announcement, but that seems to capture both the truth and the motivation.

Apparently the change here is both to hardware (modem) and to agreed-upon bandwidth being supplied to the plane, according to Seth Miller,

Hopefully the increased bandwidth ‘tests’ well and expands, irrespective of the introduction of a new provider. American Airlines charges too much for internet and delivers too little on its international flights. And that’s no longer acceptable in a world where Delta is moving to ViaSat on its international aircraft.

Update: An American Airlines spokesperson shares,

We have been trialing enhanced services on Panasonic since September of 2022. Enhanced services provides more bandwidth to each aircraft to allow an improved Wi-Fi experience on Panasonic a/c. Customers who purchase a session can text, browse, and stream from their favorite platforms.

They clarify that there’s no specific end date to the test, but haven’t offered when the test might be expanded to more flights.

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. Wait until we get Starlink. Give it another 5-6 years. Each plan will be able to leverage north of 1Gbps with ~50-60ms pings, which is more than enough for every passenger to stream like we’re all sitting in our living rooms. The future is awesome. 🙂

  2. Nothing is worse than Swiss Air and charging by the MB. At least with the slow American, I can check my emails and watch a few TikTok videos even on the international flights.

  3. On my Friday flight to Las Vegas at night American wanted 9.00, on the return flight during the day it was $25.00.

  4. Speeds a great, but reliability is an entire other subject. Viasat is broken with zero access on at least 25% of my AA flights.

  5. I was just on AA51 on Monday. The wifi was basically unusable, as usual with the Panasonic service these days. $35 for basically nothing. So… if they were testing it on that route on Monday… yikes.

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