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American Airlines is in the midst of a massive multi-year “fleet transformation” process. If you haven’t flown on American Airlines in a few years, you might be surprised at the changes. Some of these changes are good — such as no more angle-flat business class seats, excellent new business class seats and new premium economy cabins being installed on all widebody aircraft. Others changes are bad: removing IFE screens, smaller bathrooms in economy and reduced legroom in economy.
If you notice, that’s improvements in premium cabins and reductions in economy. American Airlines is planning to spend $1.8 billion in 2018 to continue this trend. But, there’s one aspect that’s been a definite improvement for all cabins: Wi-Fi.
American Airlines Wi-Fi situation was pretty bleak up until recently. While its newest long-haul aircraft came with Panasonic satellite-based Wi-Fi, the domestic fleet either had no Wi-Fi or woefully slow Gogo connections. And older long-haul aircraft provided no connection options.
Well, AA has hit a new milestone in its transformation: All of its widebody aircraft now have Panasonic Wi-Fi installed. This includes the entire fleet of:
- 15 Airbus A330-200
- 9 Airbus A330-300
- 24 Boeing 767-300
- 47 Boeing 777-200ER
- 20 Boeing 777-300ER
- 20 Boeing 787-8
- 16 Boeing 787-9
The only international-configured aircraft that hasn’t been fully installed with Wi-Fi is the Boeing 757. An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed the 757s “will be done by the end of the month.”
Unfortunately, the domestic fleet is a whole different story. American Airlines is in the process of installing high-speed internet (either ViaSat or Gogo 2Ku) on the vast majority of its narrowbody fleet. But, as of March 31 2018, the airline is only 13% done with this project:
However, it’s going to be a relatively short time before American Airlines turns this stat around. The airline’s estimated competition date is “2Q19” — meaning by June 30, 2019. Considering AA has nearly 800 narrowbody aircraft, that’s going to be a remarkably quick installation rate. However, an airline spokesperson noted that this doesn’t count “aircraft that will never receive satellite wifi, such as MD-80s which are due to retire by the end of 2019.”
In the meantime, there’s not going to be much rhyme or reason to which aircraft have high-speed internet. The only thing for sure is that the 737 MAX aircraft will have ViaSat installed. While there’s not much to like about AA’s new 737 MAX, at least it does have fast Wi-Fi:
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