Internet access has become a valuable commodity these days. I can’t go anywhere without it. If I have a meeting after work, I am headed to Panera Bread or Starbucks because they both offer free Wi-Fi. On pint night you can find me at Scotty’s Brewhouse because they offer blazing fast complimentary Wi-Fi. I have Wi-Fi at home. I have it at work. I use it at the airport. Everywhere I go I need free Wi-Fi. It’s like a drug. (I also get quite irate if I can’t connect for whatever reason. Just last week I was in Phoenix and the advertised free Wi-Fi offered at the airport was down. Like I have a right to get mad. But I do.) I use this wireless Internet access on my iPad, my iPhone, and my MacBook Pro. Without it I would simply melt.
Last year Google announced the idea of offering free wireless Internet to the entire Mountain View, California area. From what I read this access reached all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge some fifty miles away. The Google headquarters is actually located in Mountain View, so it only made sense that they start this concept here. But now Google is taking that a step further and sponsoring free in-flight Wi-Fi for the holidays on select flights and on select airlines.
If you are planning to fly this holiday season, make sure to take advantage of this offer. The access will be on select flights if you are flying with Virgin America, AirTran Airways (now owned and operated by Southwest Airlines), and Delta Air Lines. Note that not all planes on all these fleets even have access to Wi-Fi.
I have flown and used in-flight Wi-Fi, and I have to tell you it’s pretty cool to send an email or post an update on Facebook at 35,000 feet. The speed is not insanely fast, but it is bearable. You couldn’t watch a movie on Netflix or anything, but it is nice to have access to the world below while in the air.
One thing about in-flight Wi-Fi I dislike is the fact it’s not free. It’s a new technology, and I am sure will eventually will be free, but it usually runs about $10 for a flight. The longer flights offer the same access for an increased rate. Of course, if you are getting ready to board, grab your smart phone and search for some free codes online. There are plenty of sites that offer free access codes. Most of these flights will also allow you discounted rates or even free access if you are a first time user.
Regardless, one day it will be free. It will have to be as people just stop paying for it. What makes me laugh is that they still demand that you to turn off your cell phone during the flight. They are even to the point of announcing that it must be off, not in Airplane Mode. What is the point of Airplane Mode if you can’t use it on an airplane? Yet once you are in the air I have access to the World Wide Web. Silly, I know. (They do shut off the access while on the ground and when the plane drops below 10,000 feet.)
Be sure to send thanks to Google this holiday season. Both Google and its browser Chrome are proud sponsors of this limited offer. Perhaps this is a sign for the future of free in-flight Wi-Fi.
Speaking of Christmas, what do you want for Christmas? It’s time to start shopping!