Alaska Airlines has selected Gogo’s 2Ku satellite-based Ku-band in-flight connectivity technology for its fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Installations are scheduled to begin on Alaska’s Boeing 737 aircraft in the first six months of 2018, with 40 to 50 planes expected to receive upgrades by the end of the year.
In addition to Virgin America fleets, which Alaska Air Group purchased in 2016 for $2.6 billion, the remainder of Alaska's mainline fleet will be fully satellite-equipped by early 2020, according to Gogo.
"We conducted an extensive review to find a satellite Wi-Fi solution that has a proven track record with commercial airlines and will meet our guest's expectations for what they want to do in the air today, but will also continue to meet their needs in the future," said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines. "Our guests will soon be able to connect in the air, just as they do out and about on the ground helping make their travel time more relaxing and productive – whether that's scrolling through Facebook, checking email or watching what's trending on YouTube."
In addition to installing 2Ku, Alaska also said today that it would offer free chat with Gogo Messaging Pass on flights operated by Virgin America — a benefit already available to guests flying on Alaska.
The service allows guests flying with Virgin America to use iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger on their smartphones to send greetings from 35,000 feet for free. Alaska was the first U.S. airline to offer this service, and since its introduction, more than 1 million guests have used it to stay connected on flights.