You'll now have more time to use Gogo Wi-Fi on many flights
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While Gogo's satellite-based 2Ku service offers gate-to-gate connectivity — on some airlines, customers can use Wi-Fi to browse the web from the moment they board the plane — the company's older ATG (Air-to-Ground) service connects to special cellular towers on the ground, that communicate with antennas on the belly of the plane.
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Unfortunately, due to the antenna position, it's simply impossible for ATG-4 aircraft to get a connection until they're in the air — traditionally, that version of Gogo's Wi-Fi doesn't become available until a plane reaches 10,000 feet, though a recent update gave regional and business jets a big boost, reducing that connectivity threshold to 3,000 feet, instead.
On eligible regional jets, customers can now get online once the plane reaches 3,000 feet, very shortly after takeoff — on descent, the plane will maintain a connection until it reaches 3,000 feet, as well. In a press release, the company states that customers should expect between 15 and 20 more minutes online during many flights. Considering 25% of Gogo-equipped regional jet flights have a duration of one hour or less, that's a considerable boost to your productivity time.
According to Gogo, lower-altitude connectivity "will be available at most locations throughout the contiguous United States." As the company explains, "Testing shows service may not be available everywhere and system performance may vary from airport to airport, Gogo's service guarantees apply once an aircraft reaches 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL)."
Related: Guide to in-flight WiFi
Since it's not clear where you will and won't be able to connect at 3,000 feet, this feels like a "your mileage may vary" situation. The good news is that eligible planes will get the altitude boost via a remote software update, with some 650 commercial regional jets and 1,300 business jets seeing performance improvements automatically.
If you're planning to use Gogo on your next flight, be sure to check prepaid pricing in advance, which could offer significant savings over inflight purchases. Additionally, certain credit cards offer Gogo service for free, including the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card and other premium picks.