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Gogo quietly hikes up its in-flight Wi-Fi prices

The airplane wireless service stops offering one-time passes on certain flights and is now charging $10 per hour to surf the Web.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
Virgin America passengers hold up their wireless devices inside an Airbus A320 about 35,000 feet above San Francisco at the launch of the carrier's in-flight Gogo Wi-Fi Internet service in 2008. Virgin America

It's kind of strange timing for Gogo to quietly raise its in-flight Internet prices -- with airplane Wi-Fi usually being frustrating rather than helpful and JetBlue just announcing it's offering it for free -- but according to PandoDaily, the wireless service has upped their costs.

In what used to be $17.95 for Wi-Fi on a long flight on Virgin America now costs at least $30. Because rather than offering a one-time flight pass, Gogo is now charging by the hour. One hour of in-flight wireless costs $10, so a cross-country flight could be about $60. That's quite a price hike.

According to PandoDaily, the change in cost was apparently Gogo's decision since the price hike was seen in both Virgin America and Delta flights. It's not yet clear if it will apply to all flights and carriers on these airlines.

"We are experimenting with different pricing on various flights," a Gogo representative told VentureBeat. "We want pricing to reflect demand on any given route."

Even though Gogo is no longer offering the one-time flight passes, it is still offering monthly subscription packages, like the Gogo Unlimited and the Traveler Pass. These cost the same as before, which is between $34.95 and $39.95. The service is also allowing customers to pre-purchase a one-time Gogo pass for $17.95.

This news comes as JetBlue announced yesterday that it will be offering in-flight Wi-Fi service that is apparently several times faster than Gogo's and will also be free for an extended trial period.