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This week during SXSW, Gogo flew its 737-500 “inflight connectivity laboratory” from Chicago to Austin for a couple of media demo flights. I had a chance to spend 90 minutes in the air with the company’s new 2Ku satellite Wi-Fi, while also exploring the “Jimmy Ray,” Gogo’s very own “private” 737.

While you may not have very nice things to say about Gogo’s current in-flight Wi-Fi (and carriers have heard your complaints), the next-gen 2Ku satellite service will likely represent a huge step up when it finally makes it onboard commercial aircraft. It’s meant to compete with ViaSat’s faster Ka-band Wi-Fi, which is already flying on JetBlue, United’s 737s and a few Virgin America planes in the US. While it wouldn’t be fair to compare 2Ku based on one demo flight, the service worked very well during this week’s test.

Riding up front on the 737.
Riding up front on the 737.

That said, the highlight for me was getting to sit up front in the jump seat of a 737 for our landing at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport, which is something I obviously wouldn’t have been allowed to do on a commercial flight. Not only that, but I was permitted to capture a video of the experience as we landed on runway 17L, which you can see at the top of this post. It sure beats flying a 737 simulator!

Are you looking forward to faster in-flight Wi-Fi?

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