LAX at sunset
I would be willing to wager that most of the traveling public simply buys whatever airfare suits them best to get from Point A to Point B, and probably back to Point A. Whether it be the ever-popular nonstop, the obvious geographic connection, the shortest connecting time, and/or simply the lowest price, most people don’t really think outside the box when it comes to booking tickets. The carriers rely on the fact that customers will simply select from among the first few options they see when booking online; as such, there have been PR battles and even lawsuits over what order online travel booking sites list certain fares and airlines.
What you may not know is that fare rules (you know, those long-winded, multi-page things full of legal mumbo-jumbo you never read before clicking the box saying you agree to them and purchasing the ticket) many times have built-in flexibility that’s just waiting to be utilized for maximum effect, even on the cheapest fares…
I only read the best stuff while on my flights. Taken just a few minutes ago.
I am currently posting this from 36,239 feet on a Virgin America flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Seattle (SEA). The in-seat map tells me we are over Central Oregon. Today I flew to San Fran and I’m now flying right back to Seattle to test out Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system. I will post a full review of my experience on Monday, but while enjoying the Wi-Fi, I wanted to talk about it a little bit.
I am currently accessing the internet via GoGo and I don’t have to pay a dime. Virgin America, with Google, is offering free Wi-Fi on all their flights from now until January 15, 2010. Delta Air Lines, with eBay, is providing free Wi-Fi for a week starting November 24th.
The free internet is not only for folks on an airplane. Until January 15, 2010 Google will provide complimentary Wi-Fi in 47 airports across the country, including Las Vegas, Boston, Houston, Miami, and Seattle.
Seattle was supposed to be one of the 47 airports with free Wi-Fi. However, when I was there earlier today, I was excited to do some blogging while waiting for my flight to leave but it wasn’t free. Luckily I have an iPhone (airline and tech nerd) and found that there is a contract issue between AT&T (the current provider) and the airport.
Other airports got the Wi-Fi this Tuesday, but Seattle won’t be seeing it until November 18th. Every cloud has its silver lining; Seattle and Burbank airports will have free Wi-fi forever. I guess I will be ok with no Wi-Fi today for perpetually free Wi-Fi in a few days.
I am no stranger to technology and I fly quite a bit, but every time I have the access to the internet while flying, it feels magical. Some people say the magic of flying is gone but I disagree, it just depends on who you fly.
Internet is the future of airline travel. I feel that all airlines will have internet access in the near future. Once an airline cuts the Wi-Fi for landing, it is only a few minutes to re-connect on the 3G network and be connected once again. Awhile back, I talked about the possibility of having free Wi-Fi on airlines, but Andrew Compart with Things with Wings came up with another possible change that Wi-Fi could cause.
He caught something interesting in the Google media release about the free Wi-Fi, “A recent study conducted by the Wi-Fi Alliance reported that 50% of business travelers take red-eye flights in order to be “reachable” during business hours, and an overwhelming 82% said that being connected through Wi-Fi would help solve that problem.”
He brings up a good question that with business travelers having access to Wi-Fi during their flights, will fewer take red eye flights? Will that affect an airline’s business flying at night? I hope not. For personal travel, I enjoy red-eyes since I am able to sleep and I want as much vacation time as possible.
A year ago, there was barely any Wi-Fi on any flights. Hopefully a year from now Wi-Fi will be so common that there’s nothing left to even write about.. I think I am going to wrap up now, time to play Doom for the rest of the flight back home!
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