Leading inflight connectivity provider Gogo has lowered the altitude at which passengers will be able to connect to the internet on their flights. From July 20th, inflight connectivity will be facilitated at just 3,000 feet above ground level, in contrast to the previous minimum of 10,000 feet.
Get connected faster
Gogo is reducing the altitude at which passengers can connect into its air-to-ground WiFi network from 10,000 feet above ground level to just 3,000 feet. The changes will take place from July 20th, after which time passengers will be able to get connected sooner.
Although 7,000 feet sooner might not sound like much, Gogo says it equates to an extra 15 – 20 minutes of connectivity on the majority of flights. That could mean the difference between watching that movie all the way to the end or finishing a presentation before the wheels hit the ground.
Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation, commented on the lowering of its connectivity altitude, saying,
“The additional connectivity time is a significant enhancement and will deliver even more value to customers. It makes connectivity available to those who believed inflight Wi-Fi wasn’t an option because they fly shorter routes.”
John Wade, president of Gogo Commercial Aviation, said,
“By lowering the altitude where passengers can be connected, we’re improving the service to our airline customers and their passengers. Passengers who fly shorter routes will now be able to be connected, allowing them to make the most of their time during those flights.”
With many of Gogo’s equipped fleet operating relatively short segments, this move will make a big difference for some. Gogo says that approximately 25% of flights using its equipment on regional jets last for 60 minutes or less, and many spend little or no time above 10,000 feet.
The move to lower altitude connectivity will come with zero hassle for Gogo’s customers. It says that the upgrade to 3,000 feet service will be completed through the configuration of ground systems and remote updates to onboard software. No manual onboard intervention is required, and Gogo won’t charge any extra for the additional service time.
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Thousands of aircraft to benefit
Gogo’s extended connectivity offer is being rolled out to commercial aircraft equipped with Gogo ATG-4 and ACPU2 technology, as well as business aviation aircraft with AVANCE L5 or L3 systems.
Gogo says this will benefit approximately 1,300 business aviation jets, along with around 650 commercial regional jets equipped with Gogo’s connectivity system.
In order to ensure the rollout would be worthwhile, Gogo has spent the past four months conducting extensive real-world flight tests. Hundreds of hours have been clocked up on around 50 different aircraft flying throughout the contiguous United States, with findings showing that reliable connectivity is still achievable at 3,000 feet.
Tim Eames, chief pilot for Odin 123, LLC, that participated in several test flights for Gogo, commented on the trials, saying,
“In our flight testing, we found that the AVANCE L5 consistently performed well at altitudes below 10,000 feet and provided a quality connectivity experience for our passengers. The additional time to conduct business or make arrangements was valuable and appreciated by our passengers.”
While all relevant Gogo-based setups will receive the upgrade, Gogo does admit that service may not be available everywhere. It also says that system performance may vary with location. As such, 3,000 feet connectivity will not be covered by Gogo’s connection guarantee, but that will still kick in at post 10,000 feet.