Wifi The Friendly Skies

Friday, September 4, 2009


A couple weeks ago, I was sitting on the runway at LAX, staring mindlessly at the cycle of commercials playing on my seat’s personalized TV monitor. Credit cards, the Delta frequent flier program, jewelry, a promotion for “Mad Men.”

But somewhere during the seventh or eighth cycle, one of the ads caught my eye. It was about wifi. “I like wifi,” I thought.

Unfortunately, the screen cycled away before I could get the gist. So the next time it came around I made sure to pay attention. It was an ad for wifi…on the plane. My first wifi-enabled flight!

As soon as we reached a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, after the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off, I whipped out my laptop and powered on. There it was, a 5-bar signal brought to me by the Internet provider Gogo.

I almost convinced myself to pay the $12.95 for a 24-hour pass and give it a go. Almost. Too bad my flight was only 2 hours long.

But according to the New York Times, I’ll likely get another crack at wifi in the sky. That’s because, despite the hangups of a dearth of electrical outlets and zero elbow room, airlines are determined to provide their passengers with this service. The cost-benefit analysis must be adding up…even if it does cost an ungodly $100,000 to wire a plane for wifi.

$100,000? Really? No wonder they’re trying to get me to part with $12.95 for two hours. Oh well, as with any new technology, I’m content to sit on it for a year or two until the price drops.

But until then, I’m curious. Has anybody out there used the service? How’d it stand up? Share your experience by leaving a comment.

* Photo by tylerdurden1.

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