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Aircell moves to monetise Gogo portal by whitelisting car service

Aircell has partnered with GroundLink to enable passengers to book ground transportation while in-flight without paying for a session of Aircell's Gogo in-flight Internet.

The so-called 'Wi-Fi and Drive' package, available on all aircraft equipped with Gogo, is part of Chicago-headquartered Aircell's larger plan to monetise its web portal to create new revenue opportunities.

Groundlink's technology, which powers its own LimoRes retail brand, provides ground transportation service anywhere in the world from a single account.

"Airline passengers can simply visit the Gogo portal during their flight, and then follow a link for ground reservations in their destination city. Passengers do not need to purchase a Gogo session to access the site to take advantage of this offer," says Aircell.

"Once a vehicle is booked, customers instantly receive a code for their free Gogo in-flight Internet session, which can be used immediately or on a future Gogo-enabled flight. The offer of a free Gogo session can also be claimed by customers who arrange ground transportation from the ground."

Earlier this year, Aircell management said the firm intended to introduce new functionality that would see it take greater advantage of the ability to whitelist URLs. Whitelisting allows Aircell to explicitly define which URLs its portal can access for free, creating a sort of walled garden experience for passengers who do not want to pay for unfettered access to the Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi service.

Aircell's agreement with GroundLink is an example of such whitelisting.

"Our 'WiFi and Drive' package is a great value. In addition to arranging ground transportation, Aircell's technology can turn Gogo into a highly targeted and destination-specific e-commerce engine for travellers," said Aircell vice-president, partnerships Dave Bijur in a statement.

Today, Gogo is available on nearly 1,000 commercial aircraft and over 3,500 daily flights in the continental US. The service will continue to roll out on additional routes and airline partners throughout 2010 and beyond.

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