Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Google offers free in-flight Wi-Fi for the holidays

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google is partnering with three major U.S. airlines to offer free wireless Internet access on domestic flights this holiday season, the search engine said Monday.

The free Wi-Fi will be available for travelers on AirTran (AAI), Delta and Virgin America from Nov. 20, 2010, to Jan. 2, 2011, according to a blog post by Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.

Last year, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) ran a free in-air Wi-Fi promotion on Virgin America, but it also sponsored free Internet access in dozens of airports around the U.S. The company won't be repeating that offer this year, according to a company representative.

Virgin America, which was the only airline that participated last year's inaugural Google promotion, said travelers have been steadily increasing their use of in-flight Wi-Fi since the airline launched the service in 2008.

"We saw a jump in the number of guests logging on after last year's free Wi-Fi gift and we expect to see an increase again," David Cush, chief executive of Virgin America, said in a prepared statement. "Once people try WiFi at 35,000 feet they rarely go back."

For this year's promotion, Google said it chose to partner with airlines that have outfitted their entire domestic fleet with Gogo wireless technology. That left out operators such as American Airlines (AMR, Fortune 500), which has only adopted the technology on some of its planes.

Gogo, the most widely used in-flight wireless provider in the U.S., estimates that the free service will be available on more than 700 planes, and that about 15 million passengers will use it this holiday season. A Gogo spokeswoman said this year's free offering is the company's largest ever.

Delta (DAL, Fortune 500), which operates the largest fleet of Wi-Fi enabled aircraft in the world, said it expects more than 11 million customers to benefit from the holiday promotion. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,689.86 -56.12 -0.32%
Nasdaq 5,128.28 -0.50 -0.01%
S&P 500 2,103.84 -4.79 -0.23%
Treasuries 2.20 -0.06 -2.78%
Data as of 4:58am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.88 -0.25 -1.38%
Micron Technology In... 18.51 -1.39 -6.98%
Apple Inc 121.30 -1.07 -0.87%
Frontier Communicati... 4.72 0.09 1.94%
Ford Motor Co 14.83 -0.27 -1.79%
Data as of Jul 31
Sponsors

Sections

Some families are outraged at the sums they've been offered by Lufthansa as compensation for the Germanwings plane crash in March which killed 150 people. More

China's factories hit an unexpected speed bump in July, hiking concerns about slower growth in the world's second-largest economy. More

Luxury European automakers Audi, BMW and Daimler have teamed up to acquire Nokia's mapping and location services business for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion). More

Fast-food chains that operate in more than 30 locations nationwide are the sole target of a new rule in New York to hike their minimum wage to $15. But consumers and small business owners, as well as some employees, may be the ones to pay the price. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More