September 15, 2008

image I’m en route to the DisplaySearch HDTV Conference, blogging this at 35,000 feet thanks to Gogo, the incredible in-flight Wi-Fi service from Aircell. American Airlines has done a good job promoting the service including lots of signage in its JFK terminal, an info card in the back seat pocket, and a short video played just after takeoff (which I couldn’t see due to a technical malfunction. It seems to be the “How It Works” video on Gogo’s site.

The service has been rock-solid since I logged on nearly five hours ago — very responsive and with seamless bridging of cells. While it hasn’t been quite fast enough to handle video (at least Hulu) consistently, I got through a couple of stuttering SNL sketches. One needs access to a browser in order to connect. (Also, ironically, I can’t use the “connected” Kindle since wireless WANs are still verboten on US aircraft. Sony, add Wi-Fi to the Reader!) Regardless, transforming one of the last bastions of digital solitude will have transforming implications for frequent travelers and in-flight entertainment. A $12,99 for a cross-country flight, it’s a no-brainer.

Gogo’s domestic partners include American Airlines, Virgin America and Delta Airlines while competitor Row 44 has been testing with Southwest and Alaska Airlines. JetBlue has been offering limited Wi-Fi. I hope, though, that JetBlue steps it up. I like the airline, but it will be hard to go back.

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