Airplane In-Flight WiFi – Business is Pleasure!

Amenity? Necessity?

It used to be that if an airline offered wifi it was an extra bonus. Free WiFi was the ultimate icing on the cake. But let’s face it, most of us have become the averaged 7% and growing of absolute WiFi users on the plane. We are the one’s not able to wait an hour to respond or waste a perfectly good sit down session when there is plenty to get done. Communication at a halt is gruesome and we will not hesitate to pay extra insuring our computers are up and running.

But what are the airlines doing to keep their business minded customers happy and coming back for more? Is there an advantage of choosing certain airlines if possible? Should we be a bit snobby when it comes to booking accommodations such as WiFi?

United Airlines, Us Airways, Delta, Virgin Airlines and AirTran Airways all offer GoGo Internet. As a matter of fact, I would say this has been a sign of relief in many cases when first getting settled in your seat. GoGo Internet activation on your laptop or iPad costs anywhere between $4.95 to $12.95. For mobile internet activation it will run you between $4.95-$7.95. There is also an option for frequent flyers where you can buy a monthly package. I try to look out for special sponsorship opportunities. Like when Google Chrome sponsored FREE GoGo Internet for about a month on Delta, Virgin Airlines and AirTran.

If I’m not in a rush booking a flight I will definitely opt for the one that offers WiFi. Continuing work and staying connected makes all the difference. So, GoGo has become my friend.

As we continue to move into the future. The demand will grow and there will be a shift in airline mentality. WiFi or no Wifi. Airlines not offering will lose customers who are willing to pay extra for amenities we can not live without.

Southwest airlines along with their 1st and 2nd free checked bags offers WiFi on a large number of flights for $5.00

In 2012, as early as next month! Continental Airlines will add inflight WiFi to over 300 planes and by 2015 the entire fleet of planes will be equipped. I’m looking forward to trying the faster speed offered by Continentals’s partnership with Panasonic Avionics Corporation. Apparently the satellite-based WiFi technology used is MUCH faster than the air to ground connection used by GoGo Inflight Internet Service. And for those of us who fly United, they will be making the switch along with Continental!

As for FREE WiFi, JetBlue is is one of the very few that offers such services. However, the downfall is the limitations. On a longer flight you may not be happy with slower email, light web browsing, and a bit of instant messaging. A little entertainment is nice too! The new satellite-based technology taking over comes complete with higher speeds allowing access of applications such as Netflix or Hulu.

And although we are moving in this direction, I look forward to airline changes where WiFi becomes the norm and FREE service is worked in. Ensuring we don’t miss one bit of our busy lives!

YOU can make a difference! HasWifi is a great resource to find out which flights have WiFi. The data is usually accurate, but you can add input and help keep the data fresh by selecting the carrier and flight number and checking yes or no as to whether your flight had WiFi.

Freshly Connected,

Fresh Wata

    • Michelle Key
    • December 6th, 2011

    Not only are there a great number of business travelers who absolutely need that wifi connection, but for those regular travelers wanting to stay connected online, or perhaps watch their favorite TV shows or Netflix movies online, I think the demand is already there. Perhaps with the demand growing everyday, more airlines can participate – leading to greater competition in wifi connection prices. The price could go down! I am ALL FOR THIS! Great blog!!

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