In-flight Wi-Fi usage hasn't necessarily "taken off" since its introduction in the US over four years ago, and now primary provider Gogo looks to be raising its prices by quite a bit. Pando Daily's Paul Carr noticed a steep hike on his flight today on Virgin America from San Francisco to JFK. Arguably the most useful choice, a full-flight pass, is no longer available on that flight; instead, Gogo charges $10 per hour for usage. The monthly subscription packages — Gogo Unlimited and the Traveler Pass — remain at their previous $39.95 and $34.95 price-points. To put the price hike in perspective, full-flight passes on three hour or longer flights used to cost $17.95 on Virgin America, while short trips could cost as low as $4.95.
"We want pricing to reflect demand on any given route"
The Virgin America trip from San Francisco to New York's JFK is the only flight that's been confirmed to be subject to these rates, though a Gogo representative told VentureBeat that "we are experimenting with different pricing on various flights" and that "we want pricing to reflect demand on any given route." Unfortunately, since Gogo only states prices for its pre-flight packages online, and rates can change based on carrier and flight, it's hard to know which flights are being hit with the new rates. To make matters worse, Virgin America doesn't appear to be aware of any changes, according to Pando Daily, and the carrier's site still quotes the old pricing scheme.
You can always call Gogo support for pricing information on your particular flight, but it looks like you would do well to purchase Gogo's $12.70 pre-flight pass, which is only available before you fly and gives you unlimited usage during a 24-hour period.