Beginning on 01 November 2015, the use of a GoGo All-Day Pass will no longer be possible on United Airlines. Sounds horrible right? I think it might be a blessing.
United Will Manage In-Flight Wi-Fi Sales Instead of Gogo
I received the following e-mail from Gogo:
We want to inform you of a change that could affect the use of your Gogo All-Day Pass. Beginning November 1, 2015, your Gogo Pass will no longer be valid on United Airlines flights. To create a consistent experience across their fleet, United has opted to manage all pre-flight and in-air sales of inflight internet, which means products purchased through Gogo will no longer be valid on United Airlines flights after October 31, 2015.
Your Gogo All-Day Pass will remain valid on all other participating airlines, which can be viewed here.
If you purchased this pass for use on a United Airlines flight on or after November 1, 2015, please contact Gogo Customer Care at email@example.com to discuss the option of returning your unused Gogo All-Day Pass for a refund . Please have the details of your upcoming United Airlines flight handy so we can process your refund accordingly.
We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause.
Thank you for your continued support.
The Gogo team
The important thing to note is that Gogo is not going anywhere — flights that were equipped with Gogo (p.s. 757s and ERJ-170s) will continue to offer Gogo internet. The only thing that will change is that instead of paying Gogo directly, United will now process payment…and if that means United is standardizing internet charges, we are likely to see prices comes down for internet use on Gogo-equipped aircraft.
Gogo Prices Have Risen Dramatically on United
Take a look at the Gogo landing page for a flight from LAX-JFK I took last month:
That’s right, $39.99 for a five hour flight, not even for a day pass!
Of course I had a day pass, available for $16.00 directly from Gogo, but had I been stuck with paying United’s asking price, it would have been only $20 more for a monthly global pass (United never participated in Gogo’s $49.95/month single airline monthly unlimited program).
Gogo pricing is analogous to Uber surge pricing and with a finite amount of bandwidth, the pricing model is not without logic. Still, I hate to pay that much for internet and the “standardized” United system the press release above mentions is currently $3.99/hour for laptops and $1.99/hour for limited access on mobile devices.
That means a five-hour flight is still $20, but that’s half of what Gogo is currently asking and it is a fair price, since you can pay by the hour and pause or switch devices at anytime.
Look Out For United Tricks
This could be a win for travelers except for the road warriors traveling those few routes with Gogo service that take full advantage of the monthly global pass. I wouldn’t put it past United to raise rates systemwide, as was done without notice last autumn, but I am hopeful this standardized pricing will work to the benefit of most consumers and even frequent flyers. I do hope that United will soon introduce monthly unlimited packages and taking a step back, am hopeful that inflight wifi prices will decline as the technology becomes more widespread.