American Airlines generally does a great job with offering high speed Wi-Fi, with the notable exception being regional jets. Well, the airline has just made an exciting announcement regarding that.
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American is upgrading regional jet Wi-Fi
American has announced that starting in 2024, the airline will be installing high speed Wi-Fi on nearly 500 regional jets. All two cabin regional jets will be getting new Intelsat (formerly known as Gogo) high speed Wi-Fi, offering speeds similar to what you’ll find on mainline aircraft, with the ability to stream, browse, check email, and log into VPNs.
So we can expect Wi-Fi upgrades on most American Eagle jets, including Embraer E175s, Bombardier CRJ-700s, and Bombardier CRJ-900s. This project is expected to be complete within two years, at which point American hopes to have high speed Wi-Fi on more than 1,400 aircraft.
Here’s how American describes the technology behind this new Wi-Fi offering:
Intelsat’s Electronically Steered Array (ESA) antennae is unique because it is multi-orbit, interoperating on both Intelsat’s family of geo-stationary satellites and on a constellation of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, providing low latency high-speed internet connection to American’s customers.
Interestingly, American’s announcement about upgrading regional jet Wi-Fi comes just weeks after Delta made a similar announcement, as the airline plans to upgrade Wi-Fi on 400 of its smallest jets (including regional jets) as of mid-2024.
Better regional jet Wi-Fi is long overdue
American has done a great job with its Wi-Fi service overall. The airline has offered high speed Wi-Fi on more planes than Delta for years now (though Delta is catching up), while United is a distant third. Of course Delta deserves credit for offering free Wi-Fi, unlike American and United (for that matter, JetBlue deserve the most credit, for offering it for a decade now).
The major weak point of American’s Wi-Fi situation is the regional jets, which feature the old Intelsat Wi-Fi. A decade ago that was acceptable, back when being able to send texts via inflight Wi-Fi was exciting. But the technology has improved considerably, and at this point I’d consider that Wi-Fi to basically be unusable.
As much as I generally enjoy flying Embraer E175s, I’ve largely avoided these flights on American for situations where I valued being able to stay connected, since the Wi-Fi almost fell into the “why bother” category.
American plans to install high speed Intelsat Wi-Fi on regional jets starting in 2024, in a project that should be completed within two years. This is exciting, because American’s regional jets have really subpar Wi-Fi at this point. When all is said and done, American should have high speed Wi-Fi on around 1,400 jets.
What do you make of American upgrading regional jet Wi-Fi?