Ubiquitous is the term we hear quite often beside WiFi – though often it goes hand in hand with wishful thinking. While WiFi availability has come a long way in the past year, it is anything but ubiquitous.
That said, as nice as it sounds, I don’t know if the concept of WiFi-everywhere is a true necessity – a convenience, perhaps, for people who are in a never ending contest to gather more Facebook friends and Twitter followers than everyone they know.
Still, there are certain places where WiFi availability is much more than a convenience, allowing users to conduct business away from their desks and offices. In fact, in some instances – like airplanes – the lack of WiFi on flights has become the polar opposite of convenience. Travelers are stuck in an oversized sardine can and presented with several hours with which to be productive. But alas, no WiFi.
For the mileage whores out there – those who stick to the one or two airlines with which they have accumulated massive points or miles – there is little recourse, though they do gain the benefits of flight awards and elite status. But, for those who are more flexible with their choice of airlines, there’s an easy way to choose you airlines, thanks to Hipmunk.
Looking past the goggle-wearing rodent mascot that first catches your eye, Hipmunk provides a simple interface for checking which airlines offer WiFi-enabled flights, based on your departure and arrival airports and dates (the previously mentioned mile mongers can even select their preferred airline to see which flights will have WiFi).
Search results can be sorted by a variety of factors: price, duration, departure/arrival time, non-stops only. The default sort value is Agony, a combination of price, duration, and number of stops. (click on the image to enlarge)
Users can select each leg of their trips, then are presented with a summary of the selected flights and one-click access to the selected airline’s website for purchasing tickets – yes, the selected itinerary has already been selected.
While in-flight WiFi may not be a necessity for everyone, there’s a good chance anyone who has experienced it will be shelling out to Gogo repeatedly. And for those travelers, Hipmunk offers a convenient mechanism for choosing flights that will allow them to stay in touch and remain productive, whether via email or Facebook.