I’m a big fan of in-flight Wi-Fi and have used it every time I fly when it’s offered. One of the main reasons I fly Virgin America when possible is because GoGo is available on every flight. But according to a USA Today article I’m in the minority. The most optimistic estimates are that less than 10% of passengers bother to take advantage of in-flight Wi-Fi when it’s offered. It’s pretty expensive to log on at 30,000 feet, but it’s well worth it in my opinion since it relieves the typical pre-flight stress of sending/receiving email and taking care of business before being cut off for several hours. It also allows me to make last-minute travel arrangements and let friends/relatives know when I’m landing. The best thing about in-flight Wi-Fi is that I no longer have to go dark for a day when I travel cross country.
According to the USA Today article, the number one reason people aren’t using GoGo and its competition is that the services are too expensive. I completely understand that issue for those traveling for personal reasons, but the benefits to business travelers surely outweigh the $4.99 to $12.99 per flight access charges. I’m guessing that a lot of business travelers aren’t jumping online while flying because their colleagues and customers simply don’t expect them to be online while traveling. Relatively few planes are equipped with wireless Internet access and jumping online while flying is still a novelty. As the technology matures and prices come down I expect bosses will expect their employees to log on instead of kicking back and relaxing on flights.
Are you using in-flight Wi-Fi when it’s available or are airplanes your do-not-disturb zone?