A communications system for an aircraft carrying at least some personnel having personal electronic devices (PEDs) for wireless data communications outside the aircraft includes a ground-based communications network, and a satellite-based communications network. An access point is in the aircraft for providing a WLAN for data communications with the PEDs. An air-to-ground transceiver in the aircraft cooperates with the access point for data communications with the ground-based communications network. A satellite receiver in the aircraft cooperates with the access point for data communications with the satellite-based communications network to the PEDs. At least one network selection controller determines whether to send data communications to the PEDs through the air-to-ground transceiver or the satellite receiver.