Aerial Wi-Fi off to flying start in US

Less than a year after launching its broadband-light (500Kbps) in-flight Wi-Fi service using a network of 92 ground-based towers, Gogo can now be foun

Less than a year after launching its broadband-light (500Kbps) in-flight Wi-Fi service using a network of 92 ground-based towers, Gogo can now be found on hundreds of internal US flights from six major airlines, including 300 Delta planes by the end of the year and, as of this week, all Virgin America flights.

The news comes as Alaska Airlines is flight-testing a new satellite-based internet service from Row 44 that will allow it to offer an ultra-high speed 30Mbps on flights over water, to destinations such as Hawaii.

Access typically costs a flat rate of between $10-15 (£6.30-9.40), depending on the length of the flight.

Perhaps because Gogo doesn't allow VOIP calls in the air, response to the new services have been enthusiastic. In a new survey by American Airlines and HP, nearly half of business travelers chose Wi-Fi as the most important in-flight amenity, outscoring food by nearly 30 percentage points.

Now Boeing just needs to invent a tray table that can actually support use of a MacBook Pro in mid-air.