In 2018, a few months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, I visited the island to get an update for conference planners.
I wanted to see if conferences and events could be held there again. Though the island was still recovering, I saw many encouraging signs that the island was bouncing back.
And I can definitely say that the tourism, meetings, and conventions market is beginning to thrive again. The passionate people of Puerto Rico have worked hard—and continue to do so—to rebuild their homes and their livelihoods in a united, collaborative effort.
As such, meeting and event attendees in Puerto Rico are welcomed with a spirit of inclusion paired with hard work and tenacity.
Our Puerto Rico Coverage
As I traveled to Puerto Rico in 2018, I had no desire to relax on the plane.
For me, airplane time is work time. Airplane Wi-Fi helps with that, and it’s important to find out whether it is available on your flight beforehand so you can fully optimize your time.
Which is exactly what I do when I take conference trips outside the continental U.S.
Wi-Fi Coverage to Puerto Rico, Mexico
When I was flying from Charlotte to San Juan in 2018, the aircraft hugged the East Coast.
The American Airlines Wi-Fi service, Gogo, worked until we split off from southern Florida toward Puerto Rico.
As soon as we left the continental United States, the inflight Wi-Fi stayed behind, too. Consequently, work stopped and I had to shift toward offline tasks. Those occasions seem to be rare, but I was prepared. In fact, I wrote this story offline on a flight to Mexico in 2019.
I asked American if they picked the Puerto Rico flight path for the inflight Wi-Fi. They didn’t really confirm this. Either way, many American jets no longer use Gogo Wi-Fi on their planes.
American has since moved to Viasat. On my flight from Mexico to Cancun in March 2019, I was snooping around the airline's website and saw an updated Viasat coverage map.
According to the map, all domestic flights, as well as those to San Juan Airport, should now have inflight Wi-Fi—or will soon.
The coverage seems to extend through all of the Caribbean and even to Aruba. I’m heading there in April 2019 and will share some event stories for you then through our newsletter.
Sign up for the Meetings Today Newswire and other newsletters now.
Wi-Fi Coverage to Hawaii
American Airlines Wi-Fi service is not provided on flights to Hawaii, so if you're looking for a quiet flight, that may be the way to go. And of course, who wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii?
[Related Content: With Hawaii National Park Reopened, Groups Seize the Day]
Alaska Airlines Wi-Fi service used to be supported by Gogo, though they seem to have lost some coverage with this provider. Service through Viasat covers the continental US, Canada and reaches across the Atlantic, half of Iceland and even parts of the UK.
Wi-Fi Coverage to the Caribbean
American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi coverage into the Caribbean has been improved and still is something to be aware of when you plan your meetings there. Attendees may appreciate it.
Plus, you can finalize tasks while en route.
Other airlines that fly to the Caribbean may have different coverage.
To Pay or Not to Pay … for Wi-Fi
Some American Airlines Wi-Fi works gate-to-gate, at least on the flights I’ve taken.
If you plan to pay for Wi-Fi, you might be able to maximize the investment by logging in as soon as you board and the flight attendants tell you to turn off your phones. Flight passes are often $12, while a one-hour pass is $10. Easy math when the flight is over an hour, in my opinion!
Peter Stamats, CEO of Stamats, the parent company of Meetings Today, shared with me that some airlines are willing to provide refunds if the Wi-Fi doesn’t work as expected.
“When I was paying per flight United was good about issuing a full refund for bad or failed connections,” Stamats said. “That still didn't make me completely happy—I wanted to be connected!"
“I did sign up for United's subscription Wi-Fi plan in September 2018 for $49 per month," he added. "I’m dollars ahead so far, even with fails and partial connections taken into account.”
How to Connect to American Airlines Wi-Fi on Smartphones
The easiest way to connect to Wi-Fi on planes is to click your Wi-Fi and select AA-Inflight. Some planes still have Gogo—ask your flight attendants which is available for you.
Then open the American Airlines app and click on Wi-Fi and free entertainment. Theoretically, the splash screen should open on your phone, but that hardly ever works for me.
You can also go to this URL from any device: https://www.aainflight.com
Airplane Wi-Fi can be helpful when we fly to our events, and I appreciate ongoing improvements in coverage. In today’s connected world, your meeting attendees should be able to plan their work so it coincides with their travels. Consider checking into Wi-Fi availability when you book your next conference—your attendees will thank you.
Have you flown these routes? What was your Wi-Fi experience?
Share your comments or drop me an email.
[Read This Next: Trump, FAA Ground Boeing 737 MAX Jets Amid Safety Fears]