Sky Talk

No. 8: Premium economy and faster Wi-Fi on flights

American Airlines’ premium economy seating onboard its Boeing 787-9 features noise canceling headphones, an amenity kit, pillow and blanket and an enhanced meal service with complimentary beer, wine and spirits.
American Airlines’ premium economy seating onboard its Boeing 787-9 features noise canceling headphones, an amenity kit, pillow and blanket and an enhanced meal service with complimentary beer, wine and spirits. Star-Telegram

Airlines are upping their game when it comes to in-flight amenities, whether it’s new food or better onboard entertainment.

And for passengers who like to surf the web from 37,000 feet in the air, the in-flight Wi-Fi will get a lot faster.

Earlier this year, both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines sent out requests for proposals to in-flight Internet providers to improve the bandwidth on their domestic flights.

After a brief lawsuit with its current provider, American announced in June it will use ViaSat’s satellite technology on its Boeing 737 MAX fleet and upgrade 134 existing Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft with Gogo’s 2Ku technology.

This month, Southwest said it had signed agreements with both Panasonic Avionics and Global Eagle Entertainment to offer faster Internet service on its Boeing 737 aircraft. Additional enhancements to Southwest’s entertainment options in flight are also in the works, the carrier said.

In addition to faster internet, American also introduced a brand new seat class on its international flights. In the fall, the carrier introduced “premium economy” on its new Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The premium economy seats offer more in-flight comforts than its traditional main cabin seats but does not have lie-flat seats that are available in business class.

Customers can try premium economy on flights from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sao Paulo and from DFW to Madrid. American plans to expand the service to more international flights in 2017 as it receives more 787-9 aircraft into its fleet.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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