Airline Wi-Fi going mainstream: Bummer, being untethered was nice

Airline Wi-Fi going mainstream: Bummer, being untethered was nice

Summary: Aircell's Gogo, an airline Wi-Fi service, is about to go mainstream this summer and the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg gives it a good review. Why aren't I more enthusiastic?

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TOPICS: Wi-Fi, Networking
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Aircell's Gogo, an airline Wi-Fi service, is about to go mainstream this summer and the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg gives it a good review. Why aren't I more enthusiastic?

As Mossberg notes, people are about to become more productive on airplanes or lose their last refuge from the digital deluge.

For me it's the latter. Sure, I'll use Gogo every time I fly. I'll also think less, blog more and never get through my reading list. I'll never escape those streaming real-time stock quotes. As for catching up on email--the only time I actually really read it is on a plane--forget that too. Gogo will start off on American and Virgin America this summer. Other airlines--trying to scrape every penny of revenue they can to offset fuel costs--will likely follow.

But there was something nice--actually one of the few things nice about flying these days--about being disconnected. Gogo isn't the first in-flight Wi-Fi service, but it sounds like it might be the one that goes mainstream. Gogo will run you a flat fee of $12.95 for flights three hours or longer and $9.95 for shorter trips. The speed is similar to what you'd get on your wireless card.

Aircell is using cell towers to beam signals up where they are picked up by the airplane's antenna.

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Overall, Gogo sounds like a fine service. I'm just a tad conflicted about it.

Topics: Wi-Fi, Networking

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8 comments
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  • The new age.

    I hear ya man. It's the sign of the times that everyone expects everyone to be connected AT ALL TIMES!

    :-)

    I would not be surprised if employers start scheduling conference calls and online meetings for while you are on a plane, on a 8 hour flight to your company's foreign office. The employer will just say "you can get connected up there now, so YES you CAN make the meeting."

    Welcome to the new age. LOL.
    golstat2003
  • RE: Airline Wi-Fi going mainstream: Bummer, being untethered was nice

    Easy enough to simply not buy the service and use the cash for a couple of drinks instead :)
    wkulecz
  • Sure gald I'm not flying anymore...

    I was a Flight Attendant for 25 years, and retired in 1996 to go into IT. What a smart move that was in retrospect.

    What with onboard cell phone use coming in Europe, and maybe here in the US someday, and now this? I'll choose to drive anywhere I possibly can from now on.

    Just who says people must be connected every minute of the day?
    IT_Guy_z
  • RE: Airline Wi-Fi going mainstream: insufficient room/power in coach

    The price quoted is not horrible, but I suspect not enough to cover the cost. Why? too few users.
    The only people on fully-booked airplanes that have the space for typical notebooks and almost as important, access to external power are in 1st class and there are relatively few of those folk onboard.

    I carry a 12.1" wide screen ultralight - and folks, once that seat in front of you reclines, there isn't enough space left in your seat area to comfortably do much with a notebook.
    Jim Johnson
    • RE: Airline Wi-Fi going mainstream: insufficient room/power in coach

      I'll second that. I'm taller/wider than average, but I'm not a giant. The only way I can type on a laptop in a coach seat is to pull my hands in with my elbows if the neighboring seat is empty, which isn't happening so much anymore. I can't put my elbows in my neighbors' bellies, so I can't type. If my employer expects me to compute productively at 38,000 feet, I'm fired.
      esobocinski
  • RE: Airline Wi-Fi going mainstream: Bummer, being untethered was nice

    Thank you Gogo!
    Maddog@...
  • I have my doubts

    I travel quite a lot (in Europe). I have my doubts whether you'll get it here, specially in international flights. And having made three intercontinental trips so far this year (where surfing/reading mail would be actually a nice distraction)I must be even more skeptic. There are no repeater stations in the oceans....
    Samun56
  • Leave the 'puter home

    Too much chance of it being confiscated by Security anyway. Just have a loaner waiting at your destination, or at least flush the hard drive before you travel.
    anonymous