American Airlines said on Thursday that it plans to roll out high-speed inflight Wi-Fi across 500 regional jets beginning in 2024, copying a move announced by rival Delta Air Lines earlier this month.
The Fort Worth-based carrier intends to upgrade the excruciatingly slow Wi-Fi service provided by Intelsat with a new satellite-based system on regional jets which fly under the American Eagle brand.
The planned upgrade will take two years to install across the regional fleet with the jets set to be fitted with an Electronically Steered Array (ESA) antennae that can connect to both geo-stationary satellites and a constellation of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for optimum Wi-Fi connection.
American Airlines already offers streaming quality Wi-Fi on its fleet of 900 mainline aircraft, but the regional jets have lagged behind with an ageing Wi-Fi system that’s often difficult to use.
As part of the upgrade, American Airlines will continue its relationship with Intelsat to provide inflight Wi-Fi on these aircraft.
Unlike Delta, however, American Airlines doesn’t yet plan to introduce free Wi-Fi across its domestic network but T-Mobile customers can still benefit from complimentary Wi-Fi access to Intelsat-powered aircraft.
Unfortunately, American Airlines doesn’t intend to extend Wi-Fi coverage to smaller single-cabin regional jets, which include the Embraer ERJ145 and Bombardier CRJ-200.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.