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American To Add High-Speed Wi-Fi to Nearly 500 Regional Aircraft

Michael Y. Park's image
Michael Y. Park
Michael Y. Park's image

Michael Y. Park

Editor

Countries Visited: 60+U.S. States Visited: 50

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
Edited by: Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

Countries Visited: 28U.S. States Visited: 29

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...

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American Airlines has good news and bad news for flyers who just can’t stay off their laptops and phones.

The good? AA is rolling out high-speed Wi-Fi to almost 500 regional, third-party-operated aircraft starting next year — which means that you’ll be able to work on that sales deck on the way to your family vacation!

The bad news is AA is rolling out high-speed Wi-Fi to almost 500 regional, third-party-operated aircraft — so you won’t be able to blame your plane’s connectivity for not getting the sales deck ready on time.

Let’s dig into the details.

American Expands Wi-Fi Service on Regional Aircraft

“Over the next two years, the airline intends to help even more customers have a consistent and connected inflight experience through the forthcoming introduction of high-speed Wi-Fi on the dual-class regional aircraft operated on its behalf,” AA said in a press statement published on its website today.

American Airlines is building on its connectivity accomplishment of 2023 — becoming the first airline that could boast of streaming capability on its entire mainline fleet of nearly 1,000 planes. This regional Wi-Fi rollout will deepen the bond AA has developed with its satellite provider, Intelsat, and will mean that over 1,400 planes flown by or for American will be connected to Intelsat satellites.

What Does This Mean for AA Flyers?

Though American Airlines is spinning this as a win for its customers, it’s another nail in the coffin for inflight seatback screens, which AA, United, Alaska, and other airlines have been quietly phasing out on medium-range planes like the A320 and Boeing 737.

The reasoning is obvious: It’ll save money and weight and open up another revenue stream — and, let’s face it, most passengers are on their own devices nowadays anyway.

The airline didn’t say if it would also change the price for Wi-Fi, which currently starts at $10 for most routes. In 2022, American offered free Wi-Fi on some domestic flights, but that was just a temporary promotional event. Right now, JetBlue is the only U.S. airline to give passengers unlimited free Wi-Fi.

Main Cabin Extra Tray Table
Goodbye, weird airline-produced travel shows. Hello, more catching up on work! Image Credit: American Airlines

American Airlines promised that regional aircraft fitted with the new satellite links will be able to provide passengers with the same level of connectivity as they would get flying on its own main fleet.

“With the planned purchase of this new technology, American is reinforcing its commitment to provide a consistent and connected experience for customers on all of American’s connectivity-equipped flights with the ability to stream, browse, check email, and even log onto VPN while inflight,” the statement said.

Bottom Line:

Beginning in the next year, American Airlines will provide high-speed WiFi to over 500 regional third-party-operated planes.

Final Thoughts

Better connectivity is overall a plus for AA flyers, especially since more and more of them are already turning to their own phones, tablets, and laptops for entertainment and getting more work hours in.

If American follows JetBlue’s lead and makes Wi-Fi free, it’d be hard to find any downside at all — unless, of course, you’re a fan of those quirky airline-produced, airplane-only TV programs about hamburgers in Reykjavik or the bat bridge in Austin.

Michael Y. Park's image

About Michael Y. Park

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and queen of Malaysia, tramped around organic farms in Cuba, ridden the world’s longest train through the Sahara, and choked down gasoline clams in North Korea.

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