For travelers who consider inflight Wi-Fi nothing short of a necessity, there's good news: nearly all domestic American Airlines flights have Wi-Fi, as do international American Airlines flights operated on Boeing 777-300ERs, 787 Dreamliners, and select 777-200 planes.
Like several other major airlines (including Delta Air Lines), American Airlines connects travelers to the internet via Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi, and it's a paid service. Customers can purchase Wi-Fi ahead of time for travel on domestic flights, as well as onboard for both domestic as well as international flights.
Buying American Airlines Wi-Fi in Advance
Inflight Wi-Fi is significantly cheaper if you buy it before you board your flight. Currently, American Airlines offers pre-flight Wi-Fi packages for domestic flights — but not international travel. An all-day pass costs $16 if purchased in advance. Travelers should compare that rate to $12 for only two hours if purchased on board, and $19 for the length of a single flight. Passes bought in advance are good for 12 months from the date of their purchase.
Frequent American Airlines passengers may wish to opt for a monthly subscription service. At $49.95, the long-term plan works, where coverage is available, on all domestic flights within the United States, Canada, and Mexico. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t extend to international travel.) Travelers should be cautious, however, as the monthly subscription renews automatically. If you’d like to use it for a limited time, set up a reminder to cancel, or be prepared to find an unwanted charge on your credit card statement.
Buy American Airlines Wi-Fi Onboard
On both domestic as well as international flights, Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi packages are available for purchase once you are on board. Typically, $12 buys you 2 hours of Internet access, $17 buys you four hours, and $19 gets you Wi-Fi for the length of the flight.
Ultimately, Wi-Fi is expensive for all airlines. There are installation and maintenance costs, as well as reduced fuel efficiency (the exterior antenna that connects passengers to network signals slows down the plane ever so slightly, but that adds up to a significant amount of drag.)
American Airlines, through Gogo, passes that expense on to the consumer. While it’s neither free and rarely a very good connection, it’s still Internet at 550 miles per hour.
The Future of American Airlines Wi-Fi
American Airlines is committed to upgrading its Wi-Fi to Gogo's new 2Ku technology. With new modems and new antennae, travelers can actually look forward to Wi-Fi that permits inflight streaming.
The airline plans to have speedier, satellite-based Wi-Fi on its entire fleet of narrow-body jets by the end of 2019.
With that, the airline is also phasing out seat-back entertainment. Travelers will instead be able to watch movies, television shows, and live TV from their personal devices — and for these services, there won't be a need to purchase inflight Wi-Fi. Only travelers who want to send e-mails and surf the web will have to purchase a Wi-Fi package.