American Airlines’ In-Flight WiFi Love Triangle

While it’s no secret that American Airlines has been working with in-flight WiFi provider ViaSat to offer speedier connections, its current partner GoGo can’t be too thrilled that the carrier has plans to install its rival’s service in about 500 more of its aircraft.

It sounds a bit like an uncomfortable love triangle: American isn’t kicking GoGo to the curb, buuut it wants to keep seeing other people.

“GoGo will still be outfitting other aircraft in our domestic fleet with its 2ku satellite Wi-Fi and Panasonic continues to provide satellite Wi-Fi for our international widebody fleet,” a spokeswoman told Bloomberg, adding: “GoGo remains a valued partner.”

Though American dropped a days-old lawsuit in February against GoGo over what it claimed were unacceptably slow connection speeds, the airline made it known it was still sniffing around for an alternative. In response, GoGo announced plans to upgrade its systems to offer faster connections for customers flying with its contracted airlines.

Cut to June, when American ordered WiFi from both companies: ViaSat was contracted for service on 100 new Boeing 737 Max planes, Bloomberg reports, and GoGo was in charge of installing its new, speedier 2Ku satellite service on more than 130 Airbus A319s and A320s.

GoGo admitted that month to investors that somewhere around 550 American planes with its equipment might be subject to deinstallation whenever American might choose to do so, and that it expected the airline might exercise that right for many, or perhaps all, of those aircraft “from time to time over the next several years.”

Yesterday, ViaSat revealed in a quarterly earnings report [PDF] that it had a large new order but didn’t specify from which carrier, per the customer’s request.

GoGo calls American’s announcement “really old news,” telling Bloomberg that it simply confirms what the company said in its June public statement.

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