In less than a month Air Canada passengers will have the chance to surf the Internet while cruising to their destination. The Canadian airline says the service will be offered on all North American flights starting in May.
Like other American carriers, Air Canada plans to use the Gogo Wi-Fi system. In the U.S., the service usually runs $5 an hour, $14 for 24 hours or $39.95 a month for a single airline. Frequent travellers can pay $49.95 a month to use the service on all available airlines.
Though Internet connectivity is permitted, voice calls or other communications through cell phone networks are still prohibited.
Flying with Wi-Fi is becoming the norm. While Air Canada stands to make up to $5.2 million a year by charging for the service, it may not last long – analysts point out other airlines, including JetBlue, are now offering the service for free.
Canaccord Genuity’s David Tyerman notes many hotels used to charge for Wi-Fi, but are now offering it for free since it has become the industry standard.
Chances are many people will be willing to pay for Wi-Fi on a flight to break up a long, boring plane ride. But it will be interesting to see how high the fees stay, and for how long.