N321GG – Gogo’s 737-500 testbed – Photo: Gogo
Like most business travelers, I have grown accustomed to looking for the familiar WiFi symbol while boarding a plane. Just a few years ago, in-flight connectivity was a luxury and something one could not depend on, whether through spotty deployment across fleets, or because the cutting-edge technology delivering said connectivity wasn’t terribly reliable.
Over the years, however, following increased adoption among carriers, this luxury has morphed into something closer to a necessity. Business travelers like consistency, yet as comedian Louis CK accurately pointed out in one of his more popular skits amongst AvGeeks, we are more entitled than we should be. While I have grown increasingly dependent on connectivity, the underlying technology has always been a bit of a black box to me. You’ll be happy to know the hardware is in-fact encased in black boxes.
Some of the hardware required to power Gogo’s IFC and IFE systems – Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the Gogo team at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo in Portland to learn all about in-flight connectivity. For two days I mingled with PR folks, engineers, and even some of Gogo’s competitors in an attempt to get a solid understanding of IFC basics. Now that I have had a few days to digest the the technology and various initialisms, I’m excited to share what I learned.
Sally B towed to stand – Photo: Lidia Long
“Up and at ‘em, scramble!”: Duxford’s Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Tribute
“Would you like to come to Duxford Air Museum with me?” is the question that the hapless airline pilot, Captain Martin Crieff, asks two women in BBC Radio 4’s brilliant aviation comedy Cabin Pressure. Whilst it’s perhaps not the most conventional place for a date, I applaud the fictional AvGeek for his splendid choice.
The crowds gather in anticipation – Photo: Lidia Long
Originally home to the RAF’s famous No. 12 Group “Big Wing” and Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, Duxford Aerodrome, in Cambridgeshire (UK), is currently a live airfield (IATA code: QFO), a branch of the Imperial War Museum (IWM), and home to a number of modern and classic military and civilian aircraft.
My trip to Iceland in 2012 – Photo: Katka Lapelosová
Three years ago, I traveled to Iceland for the first time. It was sort of a spontaneous trip that a friend and I had planned last minute, but it ended up being one of the best international experiences ever. And with flight time being less than five hours from NYC, the chilly country makes for the perfect “long weekend,” European getaway.
Most people travel to Iceland to explore glaciers (check), see the Northern Lights (check), play with Icelandic ponies (check), or hang out at the Blue Lagoon (major check). But one thing they underestimate is what they’ll have to eat while they’re there.
BONUS: Traveling to Keflavik on an Icelandair Boeing 757
Iceland is a foodie’s dream. It’s not really surprising, considering Icelandic dishes are typically locally sourced, and with such unique agricultural conditions, chefs and locals alike have gotten creative with their recipes. The food and drinks I had in Iceland were some of the highlights of my trip, from lobster stew and Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), to whale meat and puffin (ethically farmed, and better than it sounds, trust me).
An American Eagle CRJ-200 during boarding at LAX – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
Occasionally, I’ll be as lucky as some of my AirlineReporter colleagues to be flying high in a premium cabin while being waited on hand and foot (see, e.g., David Delagarza’s vacation flight in first-class on ANA, or Jacob’s Pfledger’s mile-high shower on Emirates). But as most of us can attest to, sometimes (or most of the time) we have to schlep it to get to where we want to go.
My wife and I traveled to Europe for a two-week whirlwind honeymoon tour that included 10 cities in eight countries, as well as eight individual flights within Europe. We found a smashing deal from Delta to experience premium economy on Air France’s Airbus A380 to Paris. There was just one slight issue: our Air France flight took off from San Francisco, but we live in Southern California — over 350 miles away. The solution: flying in the much-maligned CRJ-200. What sort of life decisions did I get wrong to lead me to suffering this mighty indignity?