Do you use in flight WiFi?

Back in April I finally made it on to a plane that had Gogo In-flight WiFi internet (reviewed it here). I loved it! It was fast and convenient. Although I certainly wouldn't call it cheap, I wouldn't say that it was way over priced either. However, the other day I saw this article on how people weren't using it (less than 10%) and more importantly the reasons why. From the comments I saw, the main 3 reasons were cost, "coach seats are just too small to work" and lastly "flight time is my time and I want to be disconnected." Some are even predicting that if the price doesn't go down or become FREE that in-flight WiFi will go the way of in-flight telephones (most have been removed due to lack of use). While I can see the point, I don't think that it's as bad as the in-flight phones were. They were outrageously expensive and really the only reason you would use one would be in an emergency. However, for me inflight WiFi is one of the few perks left of flying. I don't look at it as I want to be disconnected as much as I see it as the internet IS MY IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT. My price test is, would I pay for this out of my own pocket? While I do get reimbursed for my internet expenses, I would probably still pay for this out of my own pocket if the flight were long enough. So I guess I feel the price isn't as much of an issue as some do. So what your take on it? Do you use it? If so why or if not why not?


9 Replies to “Do you use in flight WiFi?”

  1. I didn’t vote, because my choice wasn’t there – “Don’t know if I would like it because they wouldn’t take my credit card.” The card had plenty of available credit, and had been used several times in the previous few days.

    Still, I don’t know if it would have done what I wanted – the GoGo WiFi is pretty limited – they warn that streaming AUDIO probably won’t work. OK, I get that you don’t have the bandwidth for video, but audio? If it’s just to get email and web surf, I can wait until I get down.

  2. I guess it’s the kind of work you do. I personally see no value in having WiFi inflight — I can’t think of anything that would require an immediate response in my line of work. I fly enough and actually look forward to some “quiet time”. No cell phone, no email, nothing. In fact, I prefer a good old fashioned book, since I can read those when electronic devices are not permitted. In addition, it’s a wonderful time to be social and talk to the person sitting next to you.

    I also think it this has nothing to do with money. If you were in business, and your business really depended on you being in touch all the time, the $12 bucks would mean nothing. And I totally agree with others that when flying in coach (in a non-exit row or extra legroom seat), you may as well forget the laptop altogether. Instead, load up your iPad with the stuff you want to do, and relax, if you are so inclined.

  3. My answer is pretty much yes to all the above. If its a 4+ hour flight I might pay 10 bucks out of my own pocket or feel legit expensing it. If it were 5 bucks and and a 2+ hour flight OK probably on occasion. But under two hours and it would pretty much have to be free. Anymore they are making you shut down 30 plus min prior to landing (in addition to 15 plus at take off) the seats are cramped and potentially a drink to contend with. Living in the midwest, Chicago, my flights are generally not that long unless I am going to the west coast or I am sitting on the tarmac.

  4. I’ve used it. It works well.

    My biggest issues with the service are (on flights long enough to justify the $12.95 fee for the service):

    1. TSA battery restrictions. (

    2. Post 9/11, the airlines have cut back on everything (including in seat power).

    These two factors lead to my biggest peeve:

    3. I can’t justify the cost of the service for ~90 minutes of access (the current battery life on my laptop). On a cross country flight, it means the service is useless to me for the majority of the trip.

    If I’m going to pay that kind of money for internet access, I expect to be able to use it for the duration of the flight.


  5. I’ve used it, and I’ve loved it.

    On the other hand, it can also be nice to be disconnected … you can get a LOT more work done sometimes, or you can get some much-needed relaxation time.

  6. While a devotee of technology, sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad. I am thinking of those people who carry on a personal phone conversation in the middle of the bus – which is now the airplane terminal, and likely soon to be in the airplanes too. Adding wifi to the mix, I can just imagine some teeny bopper saying “OMG, I just tweeted that to you at the same instant, ROFL, Jinx and double jinks before you are my bff after breaking up with him” while I am trying to work on something…

    When do we say enough is enough?

    1. While I agree for the most part Jason I am not sure if on purpose or not but I wouldn’t put only personal conversation. Most of the cell phone violators are business travelers (and I am a traveler). Often times people say well but I’m getting work done they are just talking about nonsense to someone. I don’t know that it makes a difference. If your in a business where that 10 min business call is life or death you should be traveling via a different mode in my opinion. I see business travelers blatantly leave their black berries on just in case they can send or receive email.

      On the other hand I put up with all the chatter around me and put on a headset because as I am sitting in the terminal or waiting for the plane to take off its down time (not enough time to get into more work) so I will also call my family and see how the day was etc. (I do try to keep my speaking volume as low as possible, Jawbone is about the only good solution I have found, to be as considerate as possible.)

      I would rather have WiFi than verbal phone use on the planes but I have resigned myself that pretty much all traveling sucks for one reason or another at this point.

  7. On a related topic, I recently landed in Detroit, turned on my iPhone, and realized that the time was set to Pacific! I fired up my Maps application, and the phone thought I was at the airport in San Diego!

    Here’s my theory of what is going on here – the GoGo wifi access point must have been catalogued by Skyhook as being in San Diego, so no matter where the plane is, if that is the first thing that Location Services in the iPhone grabs on to, the phone will assume it is in San Diego!

    Has anyone else observed this? It’s happened to me twice now. The first time, my phone thought it was in Central Time (I didn’t check maps that time, but I know it was a Minneapolis-based plane), and then the second time was the San Diego thing.


  8. I voted No, unless it were cheaper, even though I haven’t used it. I’m assuming as you are a captive audience that the cost would be astronomical.

    I have a flight across the pond UK – USA in September, my plan is to take my iPad filled with my entertainment, movies, music, ebooks and emags. It should be enough to keep me amused for the duration. If not there is always the ‘free’ entertainment on offer on the plane.

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