Satellite-based wi-fi on American Airlines' inaugural Boeing 777-300ER flight faced teething issues, limiting connectivity for passengers.
Passengers were unable to connect to the internet except for during brief intervals, during the more than nine-hour flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to São Paulo Guarulhos on 31 January. Panasonic is providing the wi-fi on American's 777-300ER.
"Important data was collected during the flight to improve [passengers] experience on future flights," says a flight attendant at the end of the flight. She notes that this was the first flight with wi-fi on the route and that the crew "troubleshooted" during the first half of the flight.
Fort Worth-based American offered free wi-fi to all passengers on the flight that, some passengers suggested, may have overloaded the system.
Chicago-based United Airlines was the first US carrier to offer international satellite-based wi-fi when it launched the service on a flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt on a Boeing 747-400 on 16 January. It also offers Panasonic Ku-band technology.
American intends to install satellite-based wi-fi on its 47 777-200s and around half of its 58 Boeing 767-300ERs.