MK gets the DL on ALK

My colleague Megan Kuhn (another MK!) has been churning out some great IFEC copy of late.

Her latest article, which describes how Alaska Airlines likely intends to use Aircell’s video download service on the routes that will not have Gogo in-flight Internet, is particularly interesting.

A key par from MK’s piece:

“…Alaska’s Hawaiian, Mexican and Canadian operations will not have in-flight Internet so the airline is interested in Gogo Video for those markets, especially given that Hawaii is a leisure market, Alaska manager of product development and market research Chase Craig tells ATI. He notes that Alaska has not committed to Gogo Video as the product is still under development.”

So Alaska has selected Gogo in-flight Internet even though some of its significant markets won’t get more than the cached video content.

What gives Alaska?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the bejesus out of Gogo. Heck, I just got off an American Airlines flight from Dallas to BWI, during which I pined for Gogo (in between glasses of champers. I upgraded to first class for only $135 because US domestic first class is nearly free these days…a story for another time).

And I’m sure the Aircell download service will rock in its own special way.

But my point is this – why did Alaska dump the one solution (Ku) that could give it true fleet-wide high-speed Internet connectivity and let it make each and every one of its blessed aircraft a node on its IT network? Why?

I attempted to address some of the potential whys in my prior blog post, but even my own ramblings are falling short for me.

For the record, Row 44 provided Megan with the following statement from CEO John Guidon:

“We are disappointed we could not work out a mutually agreeable business relationship. But based on information we learned during their successful passenger trial, we know passengers were extremely satisfied with our service, including coverage into Canada and the far reaches of the airline’s namesake state.”  

Is Row 44 scratching its head about Alaska’s decision too?

I want to thank MK for getting the download (DL) on ALK. This whole business sure does make you think.

Or, as one industry insider says: “Alaska chooses Aircell over Row 44 when weknow Row 44 is the right solution for them. Things that make you gohmmm.”

(Photo above from Rod Inh00d’s photostream on Flickr

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One Response to MK gets the DL on ALK

  1. Bill Murray February 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Shocking is the only word that comes to mind. I’ve used both systems and their is no comparison in my book. I’ve tried Gogo on American, and Row 44 on Southwest. The speed of Row 44 is incredibly faster. On American it started off so-so, but as others logged on the speed of working internet connection slowed to snails pace. Using the Row44 Southwest system, this wasn’t a factor. Great results with the latter.

    I’m sure many aspects go into this decision. My guess is internal bickering and politics are the reasons. Seen it so many times before in these big companies. Something we aren’t privy to.

    If it simply decided on merit of a working system, cost, downtime of installtion, coverage, etc I sure alot of reasons are analized. BUT like most of us, just give me a fast system at a fair price. With that said, I chose Row 44′s product hands down.