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Tech Columnist Loves In-flight WiFi, Hates Paying For It

January 6, 2009 at 10:31 AM | by | ()

Show tunes aficionado and technology columnist David Pogue has finally gone where we've been for more than six months: Writing emails and reading RSS feeds thanks to in-flight WiFi. Welcome to 2009, D!

Maybe we're a bit too harsh: American Airlines has only outfitted a handful of planes with Gogo wireless, making it tricky to actually end up on a flight with internet. (Pogue found it on a trip from NYC to San Francisco.) What did he think?

Great. I mean, thereís not much to it: Itís WiFi on a plane. The speed was good, like a medium-fast cable modem. I did email, web, even watched a video or two (with headphones). I didnít try doing Skype or iChat; I saw Gogo as an opportunity to be productive, not obnoxious.

Interestingly, Pogue thinks the $13 fee to use WiFi for six straight hours of flight is way too steep. We disagree: That's less than the cost of a checked bag, less than you'd pay at a hotel and just a couple bucks more than the "premium sandwich & chip combo" available for purchase on transcons. And if you're willing to spend $55 on a cab to JFK, what's another tenner to, you know, actually enjoy yourself on a plane?

Related Stories:
· The Final Frontier: WiFi on Airplanes [NYT]
· Aircell WiFi Gets Another Glowing Review [Jaunted]
· Gogo WiFi On American Is "Totally Worth It" [Jaunted]
· American Airlines Announces WiFi on Some Flights [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

The fee sounds reasonable

$2 and change an hour for Wi-Fi on a place sound like a decent deal. How much do airlines charge for the earphones to listen to the movie?


The fee is definitely reasonable. I'm surprised by David's nonchalance - does he have any idea the blood, sweat and tears that went into bringing Wi-Fi onboard aircraft? On an aside, is anyone from Jaunted at CES?