American Airlines Is Suing Gogo For Its Lousy In-Flight Wi-Fi

February 17, 2016, 3:55 PM UTC
Tour Of An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Aircraft As Hong Kong-Dallas Route Is Inaugurated
An employee demonstrates wireless Internet capabilities on a screen in the first-class cabin in an arranged photograph on board an American Airlines Group Inc. Boeing Co. 777-300ER aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, June 13, 2014. American Airlines inaugurated their Hong Kong-Dallas route this month. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Brent Lewis—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Update: This story has been revised to reflect comment from Gogo.

It seems that you’re not the only one who’s tired of bad Wi-Fi on planes—so does American Airlines.

The carrier is suing its current provider, Gogo (GOGO), to get out of its contract because it is unhappy with the service offered by the company. “Alternative service providers are offering faster, more reliable, and less expensive satellite-based Wi-Fi services to airlines like United, Southwest, JetBlue, and Virgin America,” stated the complaint, which was first reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The suit lambasts Gogo’s performance and lays out conditions in its contract with American Airlines (AAL) that stipulate the airline is allowed to switch to another competitor if it offers better connectivity.


Gogo, which controls 80% of the on-board Wi-Fi market and services around 9,000 airplanes, is being accused of providing a limited Wi-Fi system to passengers, including unavailable wireless access below 10,000 feet or over oceans, and a bandwidth capacity capped at around 3 Mbps. “The more passengers using the service, the slower and less reliable it becomes,” American’s suit states.

The airline even names a competitor it would prefer to switch to: ViaSat (VSAT), which American believes “offers a service that materially improves upon Gogo’s air-to-ground system.” Choosing a better service is paramount to keeping up with customer expectations, according to American, citing a study that says 66% of passengers consider inflight Wi-Fi availability when choosing a flight.

When contacted by Fortune, American acknowledged it is evaluating its options. “American continually evaluates in-flight connectivity service to determine what best meets our customers’ needs and wants. We’ve notified Gogo of a competitor’s offering,” said a spokesperson.

In response to this suit, a Gogo spokesperson told Fortune that the company has a contractual opportunity to present a competitive proposal within a 45-day window. Gogo plans to showcase 2Ku, its latest satellite technology, to American, after which the carrier can decide on which provider to go with.

“We look forward to resolving the disagreement regarding contract interpretation that led to this declaratory judgment action,” Gogo said in a statement.