When I went to Great Britain back in the fall, I took Northwest Airlines. It was an eight-hour ride between London Heathrow and the airports where I made my connection: Detroit on the way there and Minneapolis/St. Paul on the way back.
The aircraft, an Airbus A330, was equipped with an entertainment system in each seat that let you choose what you wanted to see. I played a game of Sudoku, watched “Batman Begins” and “Joe Somebody,” and tracked the flight’s position. Even though my iPhone had to be set to airplane mode, I was still able to listen to music and watch programs I downloaded. I didn’t do too much of that though.
I would have enjoyed using the Internet while in the air. And I may eventually get to do that. Delta, which is merging with Northwest, is installing WiFi on its aircraft. The Atlanta-based airline is partnering with Aircell’s Gogo to keep travelers wired in the sky, with the help of cellular towers down below.
Gogo is also being used by American Airlines on flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and also by Virgin America. United and Air Canada are said to be following suit soon. And Southwest is testing WiFi with a company called Row 44.
Delta, meanwhile, hopes to have its entire fleet connected by year’s end, and they’re looking to hook up the livery it has acquired from Northwest as well. Whether that applies to any Delta/Northwest flights in and out of The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, your guess is as good as mine.
It should be pointed out that it will cost you to browse from 35,000 feet. You’ll have to pay $9.95 for unlimited access if you use it on a Delta flight that’s less than a three-hour tour and $12.95 for access on a flight more than three hours. Similarly, it’s $12.95 to use the Internet on an American flight. In addition, Delta will block certain content that might not be suitable for all ages. Hopefully Channel 25 doesn’t make it onto that list.
I may be headed to the East Coast later this summer–I’d like to visit both New York and Washington, and will probably fly into Philadelphia to achieve that. I like the idea of WiFi on airplanes, but I don’t know that I need to shell out $10 to get to the Web from above the ground. I mean, I can live a few hours without being online, can’t I?
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