Alaska Airlines has reached an agreement with Gogo to equip its Boeing 737s and Virgin America’s A320 family aircraft with Gogo’s satellite-based 2Ku Wi-Fi service, an upgrade over the air-to-ground (ATG) Gogo Wi-Fi now offered on Alaska’s flights.

Alaska pointed out the 2Ku service provides 20 times more bandwidth than the ATG service and will be available on flights to Hawaii, Mexico and Costa Rica, routes on which the current service is unavailable.

“We conducted an extensive review to find a satellite Wi-Fi solution that will allow us to give our guests full coverage across our route map, including in the state of Alaska and on flights to Hawaii,” Alaska CCO Andrew Harrison said in a statement. “Our guests will soon be able to connect in the air just as they do out and about on the ground.”

Alaska noted that the 2Ku service will enable passengers to get online before the aircraft reaches an altitude of 10,000 ft. and will provide “internet access from gate-to-gate, with speeds similar to those of wireless carriers on the ground.”

Alaska has not yet determined pricing for the new Wi-Fi service, but said passengers “can expect that prices will be lower than they are today for ATG service, with options available such as hourly and daily rates.”

Alaska now offers ATG Wi-Fi service for $7 per hour if purchased on board. Pre-flight Wi-Fi options include six 45-minute passes for $36 and an all-day pass for $16.

Gogo 2Ku service installations will begin on Alaska’s 737s in the first half of 2018, with 40 to 50 aircraft expected to be completed by the end of 2018, Alaska said. “The remainder of Alaska and Virgin America’s mainline fleet will be fully satellite Wi-Fi equipped by early 2020,” according to Alaska. Alaska currently operates over 155 737s while Virgin America operates 65 A320 family aircraft.

Alaska Air Group regional subsidiary Horizon Air is not included in the 2Ku upgrade and will continue to offer the ATG service.

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com