Air France Connect, the company’s inflight wifi connectivity service, is officially online. After months of testing the Gogo 2Ku kit is now available to passengers on a Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft. Air France expects to have 22 wide-body planes installed and active by the end of 2018 and the full fleet online by the end of 2020. For its single-aisle fleet the carrier expects 8 in service by the end of this year but has yet to deliver the “gee whiz” moment of identifying the vendor for that product; installations have started on the A320 family.
The service offers multiple price points, including a free messaging option including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage and WeChat services. The free tier also includes access to the Air France website and app.
The “Surf” pricing package price ranges from 3 euro on a domestic flight up to 18 euro for intercontinental service. A “Stream” pass is available for 30 euro on long-haul trips and will deliver sufficient bandwidth to stream content to a passenger’s device. The more expensive passes can also be paid for with FlyingBlue points, tying in to the carrier’s loyalty program.
Medium-haul and long-haul flights will also include streaming media content on board the aircraft, in addition to the internet connection to the ground, further increasing the inflight entertainment options for passengers.
Installation of the hardware on the company’s A330 fleet hit a snag earlier this summer when it was discovered that the antenna positioning atop the aircraft caused unexpected issues with adjacent antennae and the surrounding structures. At the APEX EXPO this week in Boston Gogo indicated that the issue remains pending, with EASA and Airbus working to resolve those issues so installations can resume.
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