Two days ago American Airlines launched as the first airline in the US Wifi access aboard three flight routes from New York to San Francisco, to LA and to Miami. Next airlines to follow will be Virgin America and Delta Airlines. Delta will offer it even on all their domestic flights. The technology company behind this is Aircell who is in business since 17 years and is the provider of the inflight telephone communications.
The Wifi service is called Gogo and it seems to work very well as this test report here shows. Unlike its European counterparts (I have yet to find any flight with this service although they all talk about it for quite a while) who use satellite links, Aircell’s Gogo service uses ground base stations scattered across the US. This seems a much better, for sure higher-speed service than going over the slow satellite links. Maybe an idea for the European community to think about building such an infrastructure as well. I will for sure try to check out Gogo on my next trip in the US and then report back my experience with it. One time flat fee is 13 USD BTW which is not that cheap but also still affordable.