AA Begins Installing Inflight Internet

American Airlines announced Jan. 22 that it has completed the first aircraft installation of in-flight wireless Internet connectivity features. American, which says it will be the first U.S. airline to offer customers inflight Internet powered by Aircell, plans to install and test the technology in 2008 on all 15 of its Boeing 767-200 aircraft that primarily fly transcontinental routes.

"There's a tremendous amount of intrigue and appeal for travelers to be able to utilize the Internet when traveling 30,000 feet above the United States at 500 miles per hour," said Dan Garton, American's executive vice president of marketing in a statement. "Connectivity is important to our business customers and those who want to use their PDAs and laptops for real-time, full-service, inflight, broadband Internet, e-mail and VPN [virtual private network]."

Customers will experience speeds similar to wireless, mobile, broadband services on the ground, according to product manufacturer Aircell. The system only allows data communications, not cell phones or voice over IP devices. Pending successful connectivity trials on B767 aircraft, American could extend Aircell's inflight broadband service to the remainder of its domestic fleet.