On my way out to Dallas from New York’s LGA the American Airlines flight I was on had signs all over it telling the world it had internet access. My smile was broad with corners of my mouth certainly touching my ears. I even skipped downloading all my email to my laptop when I got to my seat (a typical ritual) as I could just work remotely when we took off.
I connected to whatever networks I could find when we were in the air but no dice. I rebooted, tinkered, cajoled, complained, sighed, cursed and finally gave up. When the flight attendant passed by I asked for the scoop. “Oh, the signs are up but the Internet access isn’t yet.” Great way to do business – imagine being a show organizer and doing this? Oh, you wanted to come to ITEXPO September 1-3, well the marketing was up but we didn’t get a chance to get to LA in time to host it. Seriously – is this the way to keep customers happy? Perhaps AA is hoping to upset its customers to the point where they will go bankrupt and Obama will bail them out and they can get massive bonuses in the process. It certainly seems to work this way in the auto industry and Wall Street, why not airlines? But if the government does take over the airlines I advise my readers to start driving.
On the way back I was in line to get on my flight and a nice person from GoGo Inflight Wireless came up to me and explained I could use my phone for internet access on the plane and she gave me a coupon to boot. Wow – what a change from the last flight earlier in the week where I had my office call the airline to find out if there was WiFi and they didn’t have an answer. I asked the gate agent and she barely knew you could get Internet in the sky. Now I have a coupon, am logged on and am thrilled. Our flight was delayed about 90 minutes or more but I haven’t noticed – this is the most productive time ever and virtually all TMC travel is now done on airlines which have internet access. I suggest you do what TMC and Andy Abramson do and change your corporate travel policies accordingly