In Flight Wi-Fi Good, VoIP Bad

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

In Flight Wi-Fi Good, VoIP Bad

On several flights recently taken, I have noted that Wi-Fi is available. On one flight in particular I was quite please to see it as I desperately needed to complete a proposal and send it within the next hour or so. Before boarding, I had explained that it would be after I landed. Imagine their surprise to receive it while I was still in flight.

I liked my in flight Wi-Fi experience and will probably use the service again. However, I do not like the price or the pricing methodology. My first experiences complimentary on two different carriers. Therefore, to date, I have not paid for the service. On one carrier, the access was for the segment only. On the other, it was for the day. With prices ranging from $10 to $13 for a single flight, it is not a good value when compared to either free Wi-Fi in bargain hotels or $10 per day in full service hotels. It is a convenience that I'll use in a pinch, but not on a regular basis.

 In reviewing the packages offered by GOGO, one of the Wi-Fi providers for several airplanes, I did note that $40 buys a 30-day or monthly pass. When my primary job included traveling three out of four weeks (with international destinations as well), that would have seemed like a bargain. Perhaps, the pricing suggested by Southwest airlines will prevail. There service is provided by Row 44 and ranges from $2 - $12 per segment. Obviously, I am backing the $2 price.

As for VoIP while in flight, I am opposed. You may recall that while in New Orleans in the buffet line at the Court of Two Sisters, a woman was trying to fill her plate and talk on the phone. I say trying because she merely slowed everyone down and looked like a train wreck about to happen. I really do not want to be seated next to anyone that can engage in a conversation with someone a thousand miles away for several hours speaking with their "cell phone" voice. If a VoIP in flight service is established, the airlines need to install "phone booths" for the comfort of their passengers.

It is clear in flight Wi-Fi has arrived and will be rolled out over the next few years. It is unclear as to final pricing and availability.

Have great weekend! New recipe on Monday!


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