In-flight Wi-Fi can be maddeningly expensive, but for some it’s also maddeningly necessary. This means that airlines have almost total control over what they want to charge for Internet while in the sky. For many people, being able to work while in the air is necessary, and those customers are more or less willing to pay anything; but for others, Gogo is a name we love to hate.
Gogo, provider of in-flight Wi-Fi, is now available on about 2,000 planes across the nation and across airlines, and the prices can change depending on where the flight is headed. For example, Wi-Fi cost for a trip between New York and Los Angeles comes in at about $33, while cost for flights between Detroit and Miami are only $10. Prices can also change depending on what day of the week it is, with Mondays and Thursdays having the highest price.
But Gogo doesn’t see anything wrong with their upward tip in prices, and from an economic standpoint, raising the cost of their in-flight internet makes perfect sense. They have more and more demand for their services and limited capacity to deliver, and so, as with any business, prices go up. “There’s nothing to apologize for. We have trouble finding a business in America that does anything differently,” says Gogo chief executive Michael Small. One of the reasons Gogo gets a bad rap, he adds, is that people understand how Internet works on the ground and expect it to be the same, even 37,000 feet above it.
Until now, Gogo’s bad rep hasn’t affected their business. But now two other companies, Global Eagle Entertainment and ViaSat, are also offering Wi-Fi provision to airlines that’s both cheaper and faster. Currently only about 7% of passengers use Gogo’s wireless, while more than 40% of JetBlue passengers use ViaSat’s service.
Small is optimistic about Gogo’s future despite encroaching competitors. The company is developing new technology to make their Internet faster and more reliable, and the new technology “should add capacity and eventually let the company lower prices,” he says. Competition for in-flight wireless can really only be beneficial to the consumer, and it’s possible that Gogo might soon be the name we used to love to hate.