February 7, 2009

WiFi on airplanes. What's the downside?

Terrorists coordinating things? The fact that the mere suggestion of terrorists coordinating things has me instantly eagerly ready to have the government monitor anything sent to or from an airline laptop? Come on, we let them X-ray the intimate items our bags and look at us in that machine that lets them see us naked. And you know how ridiculous you look naked but with your invisible clothes squishing your body into the dressed shape? Or do you think you look better that way, what with your Spanx and your push-up brassiere? I'm thinking of belts and waistbands. So, come on, WiFi on airplanes. It will be great. The time once spent doing that crap crossword in the in-flight magazine and snoozing to a half-heard audiobook will feel just like all those hours you willingly sit in your desk chair on a beautiful warm February day when you could be out traipsing around your beautiful city.

16 comments:

dbp said...

The downside is that you won't be forced to read that crap magazine or pay to watch the crap movie with the crap sound from their crap headphones.

Otherwise it is a great idea.

Maguro said...

No reason this can't work, in fact it has already been done before. Boeing offered a wireless internet service aboard commercial airliners from 2001 - 2006. They dropped the business because demand wasn't high enough to pay for the cost of the satellites and ground station. This service uses existing cell phone towers instead of satellites so it should have a better chance of being profitable.

tjl said...

"The time once spent doing that crap crossword in the in-flight magazine and snoozing to a half-heard audiobook will feel just like all those hours you willingly sit in your desk chair on a beautiful warm February day when you could be out traipsing around your beautiful city."


I don't do the puzzle in the inflight magazine, but I confess to blacking out teeth and adding subtle eyelashes and beauty marks to the pictures of the airline CEOs.

Ron said...

How's about in-plane Halo tournaments? Winning teams get airline perks...Frequent Killing Miles maybe...

John Burgess said...

And what happens, pray tell, when M. or Mme. X clicks into hardcore porn while eight-year-old Child Y is in the next seat? Or, for that matter, Sister Mary Elizabeth or Josh Ashcroft? Or your fiance/e's mother, unbeknownst to you?

Will your Skype be permitted to function while the airline loses money on its SkyPhone service?

If I pull up a page in Arabic or Farsi, will I be in handcuffs prior to landing?

Or, maybe I could just be a real dick and view only airplane disaster films.

It all works well as long as everybody plays by the same rules. But as there are no rules, there's going to be some friction along the way...

Maguro said...

And what happens, pray tell, when M. or Mme. X clicks into hardcore porn while eight-year-old Child Y is in the next seat?

According to the article, they have internet filters to take care of that problem.

If I pull up a page in Arabic or Farsi, will I be in handcuffs prior to landing?

I don't know. If you open a book in Farsi or Arabic, will you be in handcuffs prior to landing?

Or, maybe I could just be a real dick and view only airplane disaster films.

You could do that now with a laptop and few DVDs.

Really, this has all been done before. We've had wireless internet on planes before here in the states - and still have it in Europe - without fistfights breaking out or perverts forcing porn on helpless eight-year olds.

The only question is whether the service will make money. Boeing failed because their overhead was too high...time will tell whether that overhead is now low enough to turn a profit on in-flight internet access.

Joe said...

And what happens, pray tell, when M. or Mme. X clicks into hardcore porn while eight-year-old Child Y is in the next seat?

Oh God. I suppose this is a joke:

Q. What happens when M. or Mme. X opens a Hustler magazine next to Child Y?

A. You get a straw man.

Bruce Hayden said...

Of course your Skype service won't work. It is already being blocked. Why? Ostensibly probably because talking on the phone in such an enclosed area is rude. Realistically? Loss of revenue.

What is humorous is that you have to shut off your cell phone, but apparently not your laptop with WiFi now. They may as well admit it, that there really never was a major safety issue there in the first place.

Actually, I fly enough (about 75 flights a year right now) that I occasionally forget to shut off my cell phone. And I can personally attest that no plane that I have flown on in which I forgot to shut off my phone has crashed yet (actually, I am batting 100% so far on my plane flights, regardless of my cell phone status).

What is embarrassing though is when you get a call as you are just touching down. Everyone on the plane knows who ignored (or slept through) the rules. It happened a week ago, when I met my girlfriend flying in at the same time. She was disembarking and was trying to see if I would meet her at the gate. Over the sound of the reversed engines and brakes, I told her that no, I couldn't meet her when she walked off the plane, since her plane was already unloading and mine was just slowing down.

Bruce Hayden said...

Would I use WiFi in the air? Rarely. Probably about as often as I pay a similar amount in a hotel. Nickel and diming me doesn't work very well. I find I can get boarding passes directly on my Blackberry, or can tether it to my laptop if I really need Internet access. So, my guess is that I will use it maybe once or twice a year (assuming that I continue flying 75 or so times a year).

Now if it were free... I find that when airports have free WiFi, I use it, and if they charge, I don't. Ultimately, you figure out which airports to bypass based on whether or not they have convenient free Wifi (I qualified with the "convenient" because Denver has free WiFi, it is just hard to find it).

BJM said...

In-flight wifi is inevitable and overdue as business travel drives the industry.

What devices will be allowed and how will they draw boundaries when devices are constantly changing and merging services?

What if I use a cell phone to browse, email, SMS or twitter, not a laptop?

How will they throttle bandwidth hogs without making the service ineffective for business travelers with large files to send and receive?

Porn filters are only partially effective. Data stored on shared drive folders are not subject to web site filtering criteria. Just as one can share a document, spreadsheet or presentation through any number of share utilities.

However porn or inappropriate material can be stored/played on devices and laptops. How do airlines deal with it now?

Lots of kinks to be worked out.

John Lynch said...

Don't you know that the Cylons can hack networked computers?

MadisonMan said...

I sleep on airplanes. I'll sleep if there's wi-fi too.

rhhardin said...

A pilot blames Airbus, adds that 95% of lne pilots would do the same job of landing in the river.

Leland said...

Will your Skype be permitted to function while the airline loses money on its SkyPhone service?

The Skyphone service already is a loss. The expense of flying it outstrips the money made from it. Seriously, how often do you see it used? I know several airlines have taken out their's. For those that haven't, perhaps Skype will be a tipping point that causes them to drop the useless weight.

theobromophile said...

It'll be a good thing if it stems the tide for people who want to use their cell phones on planes. (My big issue is not safety, but annoyance; it's bad enough being squished in like sardines, but can only work when people aren't bothering each other.)

If it opens the floodgates to passengers who demand to use their cell phones during flight, it'll be a nightmare.

jeff said...

I'm with Madisonman. I am out as soon as I buckle up and wake up on landing. Wi-Fi or not.