Travellers looking to stay connected to the cloud while flying among the clouds now have one more option: Air Canada.
The Canadian carrier announced on Wednesday it will roll out in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers aboard some of its narrow-body planes come May. The move makes Air Canada the first Canadian carrier to launch in-flight wireless connectivity, trumping its competitor WestJet in the wireless race.
"In today's connected world, our customers want to access email, mobile device applications and the internet wherever they are, both to increase their work productivity and expand their leisure options," said Benjamin Smith, Air Canada's executive vice-president and chief commercial officer.
Wi-Fi will come courtesy of Gogo, a service provider who's worked with American airlines like U.S. Airways, United and Delta, according to the company's site. For now, the service will be limited to just flights within North America, though Air Canada says it plans to bring Wi-Fi to its international flights in the future.
Gogo currently offers time-based passes ranging from $5.00 to $49.95 and are compatible for tablets, laptops and smartphones. Air Canada says it'll "offer variations on pricing, such as single use for one flight or a package for a number of flights," according to an email from Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick adds that the carrier expects to deploy new packages based on customer's response. In terms of speeds, the airline says it's comparable to mobile broadband services available on the ground, though passengers won't be able to use the data of VOIP calls.
The Montreal-based airline already has two Airbus 319 aircrafts equipped with Wi-Fi operating in Canada and the U.S. The new partnership with Gogo however would see 29 more planes outfitted with air-to-ground Wi-Fi ready for use by December 2015.
Last year, WestJet was poised to become Canada's first carrier to offer in-flight Wi-Fi. In February, it announced it would include Wi-Fi as part of its new entertainment system which would allow passengers to stream live TV or movies from tablets.
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