Gogo's Strategy – Not Working, Not Going to Work

Gogo Internet, offering internet/wifi online during a flight.

Gogo as a company has been around for many years and to my knowledge was one of the pioneering companies to offer internet aboard airlines. But as a person that travels mostly for personal trips, as opposed to business, I’ve never had the justification to purchase internet on flights, regardless of the price. And my guess is that other airline passengers who aren’t travelling business won’t be interested in purchasing Gogo Internet onboard a flight either. The only type of passenger I can imagine who could justify purchasing Gogo internet is business traveler who can charge the purchase to the company. Therefore, I never considered Gogo an investable company because the numbers of

On my recent trip from San Francisco to Boston via Virgin America, the plane was equipped with GoGo Internet. After a different trip from Orlando to SFO, I was surprised JetBlue offered free internet aboard flights. Therefore, when I saw this Virgin America flight had internet, I was a bit curious. And then I was surprised and blown away at the cost of Gogo Internet (about a 4-5 hour flight from SFO to Boston in March 2017):

  • All-Day Pass: $43.95
  • Flight Pass: $33.95
  • 30-Minute Pass: $9.50
  • Virgin America Plan (Monthly): $49.95/Month
  • Virgin America 2-Device: $59.95/Month

So seeing those prices even when JetBlue is offering free internet on all their flights is mind boggling. Granted for the prices, I would expect the download and upload speed of Gogo to be far superior to the free internet on JetBlue, there isn’t anything that I couldn’t wait 5-6 hours for to use the internet.

Therefore, I continue to believe that Gogo will never become wildly profitable under their current business model. But real metric that would spell it out is how truly fast Gogo’s internet is and how much utilization their system costs.

In my opinion, Gogo Internet very closely resembles Sirius radio because there’s a high upfront cost of installing the hardware (on plane or cars), but the number of paying subscribers is low. For that reason, I still would not consider purchasing Gogo.

T-Mobile currently offers free Gogo internet to their subscribers for 1 hour. Even with that, I’d use the hour, but unlikely purchase more time.

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