A federal judge has allowed a class action suit to proceed against Gogo, the largest in-flight wifi provider.
The filing is on behalf of air travelers. It claims that the company is violating antitrust laws. At issue is whether its contracts with major airlines are a form of monopoly, forcing up prices anti-competitively.
An all-day pass is typically $14 -- though promotional offers on short flights can go as low as $2. Competitor services sometimes offer lower prices.
Gogo, a US company, has contracts with American, Delta, JAL, and other major airlines. It controls as much as 85% of the more than 2,000 planes equipped to provide wifi in the US.
The company installs equipment on planes. It sets the prices, to prevent airlines from using the service as a loss leader. It gives airlines a commission.
The move is a potential boon to Gogo rivals like Row44, which typically lets airlines like Southwest control the rates fliers pay for its service. Southwest often charges $5 per flight.
About one in ten passengers in the US use paid in-flight wi-fi when it is offered, according to In-Stat, a market research firm.
The complaint will move towards a trial. Here’s the decision against Gogo, via GigaOm: