Poker enthusiasts may be more inclined to associate American Airlines with having pocket Aces, but this news might be even more exciting than having a couple rockets in the hole. American Airlines has announced that they have reached a deal with AirCell wherein they will be “the first U.S. airline to test the capability of providing passengers with AirCell’s high-speed broadband connectivity.” The initial test is scheduled for 2008 onboard a Boeing 767-200 that’ll serve primarily transcontinental routes.
American Airlines says that this service is largely being targeted at business users who have a greater need to feel connected while flying between destinations. They recognize that these power uses “want to use their PDAs and laptops for real-time, inflight broadband communications.” The needs of passengers are evolving, and being up in the air for several hours at a time doesn’t necessitate that you should feel disconnected from the rest of the world. No need for nasty cables either, as AA is going with 802.11a/b/g.
This inflight service, probably offered on a pay-per-use basis, must comply with a series of requirements from the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).