Archive for the ‘in-flight wifi’ Category

WiFi in Flight Regulations may be hampering more rapid deployments

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

An article inĀ Travel Weekly reports that In Flight WiFi remains a very desirable amenity for travelers but is causing some headaches for carriers as they navigate the maze of regulations involved in WiFi enabling of commercial aircraft:

Passengers’ growing appetite for electronic gadgets and WiFi access is creating problems for airlines eager to sate that appetite. The challenge lies in enforcing myriad company policies and federal laws covering wireless communications.

The good news is that in-flight broadband is such a powerful amenity we are virtually certain to see it very fully deployed eventually.

As airlines test and equip their planes for in-flight WiFi, they have to figure out how to catch people using prohibited devices (or approved devices at the wrong time) with no practical means of detecting radio-based technologies that can operate out of sight in briefcases, carry-on bags or even pockets.

Alaska Air WIFI challenges continue

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Tech Flash is reporting that Alaska’s WIFI service is popular but pricing issues remain. They say Alaska’s fee is likely to be $15 per flight which I fear will prevent most users from taking advantage of the service. Although $15 does not seem to be excessive, budget conscious flyers will recognize that a few hours away from the internet won’t do them any harm. I’d argue the optimal “price point” for in flight online services is somewhere between $5 and $10 which are still very high by the standard of free WIFI now available in many airports but represent a premium cost that consumers are “comfortable with” in flight as this is in the neighborhood of the cost of a snack box s and even on some flights beverages.

If the Airlines don’t hurry up I think this market could literally dry up as ubiquitous broadband reaches most areas in the USA and customers choose to take a nap rather than worry about the few hours of non-connectivity between the WIFI at home, the Airport, and the destination hotel combined with their EVDO or broadband smartphone access.

American Airlines Testing In Flight Broadband

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Flight Delays? Bad meals? who cares as long as you have In-Flight Broadband, arguably the most important amenity an airline could ever offer.

American Airlines is testing the service now and unless they overprice it I think it’ll be a big winner, though in flight *power* is going to be a problem for many if the Airlines don’t take that into account as well.

United’s iPOD chargers from Panasonic Avionics

Monday, June 16th, 2008

United Airlines is starting to install chargers for iPHONES and iPODS in planes. This appears to be a mild transition to the real power supplies that many laptop users would really benefit from on planes, but it is a good step in the right direction, especially because other airlines are experimenting with onboard WIFI – clearly the holy grail of in-flight services. As much as I enjoyed watching six movies on my recent flight to Hong Kong from San Francisco, I think I would rather have been computing.

In fact a clever approach to in-flight WIFI would bring targeted advertising to travelers for the locations they were approaching. For example if, as I flew to Hong Kong, I had been presented with attractions and restaurant ads this would have had a huge influence on me. This type of targeting would probably more effective on long international flights than short “family travel” experiences, but as an advertising environment it is hard to imagine a richer “win – win” situation than travelers getting relevant information about things to do and see at a location hours before their arrival.

Jetblue offering in-flight email

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Over at Webguild blog, Reshma is reporting that Jet Blue will offer in flight email services via WIFI. This is great news, coming on the heels of AA’s in flight WIFI experiments.

I think airlines will find that in flight WIFI is a great, great service to offer on any flights, especially those that last more than an hour. An hour is often enough time to catch up on emails and not waste a day of travel time after which you are buried again. Good luck to Jet Blue and AA with these WIFI in-flight experiments!