The miracle of flight changed the course of civilization over 100 years ago, and now, the miracle of checking the internet for funny cat pictures while flying may continue that civilization-changing track.
Calgary-based WestJet is poised to become the first airline in Canada to offer inflight wifi.
While the contract isn’t yet inked, WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky hints that the announcement may come before Christmas. The airline’s service provider is unannounced, but the Calgary Herald suggests that it may be US-based Gogo, which supplies wifi service to a number of American airlines (including “American Airlines”) via skyward towers that send funny cat pictures (and other Internet content) to the aircraft.
Perhaps due to a regulation requiring that “all sending and receiving functions of your device must remain off during the flight,” Canadian uptake of inflight wifi has lagged behind its adoption by US airlines. Air Canada offers inflight wifi on two of its Los Angeles-bound flights, but only while its planes are flying in US air space.
Continuing the trend of airlines attempting to recuperate the increasing cost of jet fuel by charging their passengers extra for every minute aspect of the flight, inflight wifi is usually offered at an additional cost. Delta and American Airlines both charge $14 for 24-hour “unlimited” wifi pass (which is actually extremely limited, due to the fact that you have to be on an airplane to use it).
Following the announcement, it could take up to six months for wifi service to become available on WestJet flights. In the meantime, could we offer you a refreshment from our on-board menu?