Several years ago I was on an 11 hour flight to Europe. A flight of that length normally causes at least a few episodes of cabin fever, even from a guy who absolutely loves to travel. But this flight was different - it offered in-flight WiFi that was provided by a Boeing company, called Connexcion. I could IM with my brother and friends, take pictures of my wife's meal and email it to friends (what are you doing? This is what we're eating on our flight to Europe... aren't we cool), read articles about USC Football and the Housing Bubble (my two favorite subjects at the time) and on and on. It was such an enjoyable experience that the $30 charge seemed like peanuts. Scandinavian Airlines, United and other airlines were planning on rolling it out across their network. I was elated. My multiple flights to Europe each year would be so much easier to handle. Then, Connexion went away. I was devastated. how could such a great offering that provided utility to so many leisure and business travelers get the plug pulled? Turns out, technology at the time was too expensive, too bulky and too heavy to make financial sense, so it collapsed.
Flash forward several years and, as usual, thank God for technology. Smaller, lighter, less bulky, less-expensive equipment and lower costs of providing service have opened the doors to new providers. As a result, more and more flights are WiFi enabled. In fact, I'm 30,000 feet over your heads as I write this review (according to the flight tracker on my computer, I'm over Decatur, IL en route from LA to NY). How's that for progress?
The current company I see on most of my flights that offers WiFi service is GoGo. The charge is $12.95 for 24 hours (very reasonable, IMO), and you can buy monthly plans if you fly a lot. I think GoGo is doing a good job, but I'm still not sure how many people use the service and I hope they're making enough money to support the business, because once you've had WiFi on a flight, flying without it is painful and, most definitely, less productive.
User Tip: Before you fly, sigh up for GoGo from the ground (as far in advance as possible). They frequently email out discount codes and specials to their users, which can save you a little scratch that you can spend on that $4.00 bottle of water in the airport.
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About the reviewer
Brew Johnson (Butter)
I have a beard. I like to travel.
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The Gogo Inflight Internet is an in-flight broadband Internet service offered by Aircell. Gogo allows airline passengers to connect to the Internet through a system of cell towers on land.
Aircell owns and rents a total of 92 towers that cover North America, including Canada and Mexico, and up to 300 miles off-shore in some areas. The towers are cellphone towers that have been outfitted to point their signals at the sky rather than along the ground. The aircraft picks up the signal through a receiver installed on its underside. Once in the aircraft, the data signal is distributed throughout the cabin via a Wi-Fi system. Customers are required to enter their e-mail address and solve a CAPTCHA before using the service.