Guess Where Barbara Wrote This Post?
Yes, I am actually writing these words from a plane. I'm in seat 38C on Delta flight 1483 en route to Orlando. After having written about this for many months, I'm actually writing an email from an airline seat.
By coincidence, I had coffee with Aircell executive Tom Weigman a few days ago; at the time, I hadn't yet realized that Delta had leap-frogged ahead of the competition. Weigman informed me that the airline has 64 planes wired for access; American and Virgin America each have only 15.
From what I've seen today, it's easy to use: Even with my klutzy typing, I registered with Gogo Inflight Internet in about four minutes and was online moments later. One bit of advice, though: Try to sign up before departure so you don't waste precious battery space.
The cost of connecting on this flight is $9.95 because the flight is under three hours (for longer flights it's $12.95), but Weigman told me that Aircell is rolling out a new lower-priced service soon. You can also connect to Gogo using a handheld device for $7.95.
So what are the drawbacks? I don't see any power ports on the plane, so you'll need to bring an extra battery on a longer flight. And although the captain announced there was information on how to use inflight Internet in the seat backs, I found no such pamphlet.
How many others are using this? There is a huge group of high school kids aboard this plane, and one of them, upon hearing the pilot announce our Wi-Fi readiness, yelped "How cool is that?" But there aren't exactly a lot of laptop- or Blackberry-toting types on this milk run to Orlando.
All in all, it's a great invention--certainly for business travelers like me--but more needs to be done to get the word out.