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In-flight WiFi is one of the best developments in travel from the past decade in my opinion. In fact, without it, I probably wouldn’t be able to blog as much if I’d be cut off from information and news for big chunks of time while in the air. However, these days as more and more airlines adopt in-flight WiFi and make it available even when traveling over oceans, being a digital nomad is easier than ever.
Though I use Gogo in-flight WiFi all the time and have an annual subscription that has paid for itself many times over, one big hole in its coverage is the fact that it is only available when flying over the continental US and Alaska. So quick trips to Montreal or Toronto, or flying to Asia via Vancouver mean being out of touch for potentially long periods of time. All that has changed, though, as Gogo and Air Canada teamed up to offer in-flight WiFi on select flights from LA to Toronto and Montreal (previously the service was available, but just on portions of the flights above the US) starting last September, and now Gogo has announced that its network is live over Canada and should be available on Gogo’s other partners as well including Air Tran, Alaska, American, Delta, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
WiFi is available for the duration of the flight for $9.95 on laptops and $7.95 on handheld devices. The network will be a hybrid of Gogo’s ATG and Ground to Orbit (GTO) satellite technology that the company promises will deliver speeds of up to 70 Mbps. This is just the first phase, so flyers might not find service all over Canadian air space, but Gogo says that the rest of the country should be covered by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
It’s not as though the lack of WiFi coverage stopped me from flying to or over Canada, but this is definitely a great development that means flyers won’t have to sacrifice connectivity if they want to fly to the great white north or through Canadian hubs to Europe or Asia.