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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,461.32 -153.49 -0.92%
Nasdaq 4,382.85 -36.63 -0.83%
S&P 500 1,927.11 -14.17 -0.73%
Treasuries 2.23 0.02 0.95%
Data as of 4:53am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.40 -0.20 -1.20%
Yahoo! Inc 42.00 1.82 4.53%
Apple Inc 102.99 0.52 0.51%
Facebook Inc 78.37 -0.32 -0.41%
Boston Scientific Co... 12.32 0.29 2.41%
Data as of Oct 22

Sections

Las Vegas might have first class shopping, dining and nightlife. But for serious gambling, head to Macau. More

The midterm elections are around the corner, and the economy remains a top concern. With unemployment down and inflation low, why do people still feel the economy stinks? More

Uber canceled its free rides with hot girls promotion in Lyon, France before it ever launched. More

Startups focusing on "ag tech," or agricultural technology, are gaining the attention of farmers and investors More

Dressing up in crazy costumes, traveling the world, posing for photos -- and getting paid to do it. Here are journal entries from a day in the life of professional "cosplay" character, Linda Le. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.