Currently, if you’re lucky, you can get a flight with WiFi, but it’ll cost you either an exorbitant fee every hour, or you can pay an exorbitant fee up front.
Now, in-flight WiFi provider Gogo has decided that they really need to change their pricing. So they have! Now you can pay a higher exorbitant fee per hour — triple the previous price — and you have no option to buy a free WiFi pass.
So, if you want wi-fi on your next cross-country flight on Virgin America, it’s going to cost you roughly the same amount a steak dinner would. Yes, Gogo is just continuing the fine tradition of our nation’s airlines by raising fees while at best maintaining services. And at the worst possible time, too, since JetBlue recently announced that they were going to actually try and give their customers decent WiFi.
Road warriors needn’t worry: The Gogo Unlimited and Traveler Passes are still $35 and $40 respectively, and are actually a better deal, since Gogo now wants ten bucks an hour for their service, triple their former rate. Oh, don’t worry, it gets worse:
But here’s the really odd part: Virgin America seems to know nothing about the change. A change that makes the cost of wifi (for non-subscribers) an insane $60 for a cross-country flight (or “only” $40, if you figure out their odd ‘buy two get one free’ option). In fact, Virgin America reps say it’s “not true” that there has been a change, when there demonstrably has been.
I’m guessing somebody at Gogo finally looked up the term “captive audience.”
JetBlue, meanwhile, has announced plans to include decent WiFi on their flights. You will have to pay for “premium” service, but basic email and browsing are currently free, or will be when the service launches in 2013. Of course, once the FAA finally reviews its policies and realizes that the in-flight rules on electronics are insane, most of these services will go away. But until then, bend over.