Yes you can get Wi-Fi on most any airplane, but plenty of times it's so bad that you'll wish you didn't even have the option. A number of airline carriers are working to change that. The Cathay Pacific Group is next up, installing Gogo's 2Ku on its planes starting in 2018. Meanwhile, Emirates is continuing its luxury role by announcing it will have 50Mpbs connectivity on some of its fleet by 2020.
Traditionally, in-flight Wi-Fi uses the same structure as Airfones did generations ago—air-to-ground (ATG) technology, in which antennas send signals up to planes. Back in the 80s, that cost $7.50 for the first three minutes and $1.25 for each additional minute. And the problem in 1984, as it is today, was the plane's antenna getting overwhelmed. Satellite-based broadband connectivity like Gogo's 2Ku (and competitor, ViaSat) offer a much wider straw for a plane to suck data through, and direct from the sky, making the internet it delivers much faster and more usable.
"Our goal is to allow our customers to be connected anytime and anywhere – and this agreement with Gogo is a huge step in enabling us to deliver this," said Paul Loo, Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, in a .
Emirates and the French Thales Group have a and this upgrade will improve its 165-plane strong Boeing 777X fleet. At 50 megabytes per second, Emirates passengers will experience Wi-Fi speeds that are only really needed for frequent downloading of large files.
But Emirates, which already provides unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi to its First Class and Business Class frequent flyer customers, and 20MB of free Wi-Fi to economy passengers who have to pay for more, is all about having more than is needed. Just take a look at their latest privates suites.