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United latest to sign for Aircell's internet solution

Several years after withdrawing from the now-defunct Connexion by Boeing's satellite-based internet project, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have all now turned to Aircell for air-to-ground connectivity.

Earlier in January United became the latest carrier to confirm it would bring Aircell's Gogo internet on board, saying that the service will be offered on 13 Boeing 757s flying transcontinental routes from New York Kennedy to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Gogo will be available to United customers travelling in all classes of service for a flat fee of $12.95.

United's decision to offer Gogo on its transcontinental 757s is strategic. Last summer American launched a trial of the service on 15 transcontinental Boeing 767-200s. Gogo later went live on Virgin America and Delta, which have both agreed to fleetwide equipage. Air Canada is also an Aircell customer.

Nine years ago, United teamed with American, Delta and Boeing to market the airframer's Connexion airborne internet service under a joint business venture. Each airline signed a letter of intent to take an undisclosed equity stake in the Connexion programme as well as to equip 1,500 aircraft with the service.

But in the wake of the slowdown after 9/11 all three carriers withdrew from the project, and although Connexion was deployed by several international carriers it ultimately failed. Since then Aircell has been working diligently to bring its less-costly air-to-ground offering to market. So far, the company has captured the lion's share of business in the USA.

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