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American Airlines launching improved Wi-Fi subscription plan

Nov. 09, 2020
3 min read
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American Airlines has improved its Wi-Fi experience significantly over the years. Almost all flights now offer Wi-Fi, including high-speed, gate-to-gate options on most planes. And now, it's making a change that frequent flyers will appreciate.

The Fort Worth-based carrier currently uses three different Wi-Fi providers — Viasat, Gogo 2Ku and Panasonic — depending on the aircraft. Right now, those with monthly Wi-Fi subscriptions only have access on Gogo and Viasat aircraft. However, American is revamping its subscription offering and will expand access to all three types of aircraft.

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American Airlines' new monthly Wi-Fi plan

On Nov. 10, American Airlines will launch a new monthly Wi-Fi subscription plan. Like the old plan, it will be priced at $49.95 a month, plus tax. However, the difference is that this subscription will be valid on all three Wi-Fi providers: Gogo, Panasonic and Viasat. Previously, the plan was only valid on on Gogo- and Viasat-equipped aircraft. Now it will be valid on domestic flights, as well as those between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America.

Viasat and Gogo 2Ku are found on narrow-body planes, while Panasonic is used on wide-body aircraft. Although wide-bodies are typically used for long-haul international flights, which aren't included with this plan, this is a positive development for frequent travelers nonetheless.

The reason is simple. American frequently operates domestic routes with wide-body planes. For instance, now through Jan. 4, 2021, all flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles (LAX) will be operated by a Boeing 777-200. American also frequently flies wide-bodies from Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

For those not subscribing to American's monthly Wi-Fi plan, à-la-carte Wi-Fi passes will continue to be available from $10. All other inflight entertainment, including Apple TV+, Apple Music and American's holiday channel, will continue to be free.

Current customers with a monthly Gogo subscription will receive instructions on how to switch to the new plan beginning Nov. 16.

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Related: American now charges more to access Wi-Fi across multiple devices — what changed?

How to save on in-flight Wi-Fi

A monthly subscription is just one way to save on your inflight Wi-Fi. For instance, you can get up to $25 of statement credits toward Wi-Fi purchases on AA flights with the $99-a-year Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. You can also get 25% back in statement credits for Wi-Fi purchases made on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®.

The information for Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red card and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card the has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Another option for frequent travelers would be to join American's AirPass program. Starting in 2021, members will get a complimentary annual wi-fi subscription.

Related: Credit cards that offer free and discounted inflight Wi-Fi

Bottom line

Although this change might seem insignificant, expanding American Airlines' monthly Wi-Fi plan to all three providers is a positive development for frequent travelers. You won't need to guess anymore whether your sbscription will work on your flight.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.