. When you hear the phrase, what do you think about?
Obviously, some people consider Internet in airports and on planes far
more important than even food
, but unless you fly one of those high
demand routes (New York City to San Francisco/LA, for example), you may
feel that in-flight Wi-Fi simply isn't available on enough aircraft. But
apparently those feelings are changing.
The whole thought of having broadband speeds while traveling at 35,000
feet seems pretty insane. And even now, after you've used an in-flight
Wi-Fi service such as Row44 or Gogo
one or twice, it's still amazing to
get connected while flying. We won't pretend to understand how it all
works, but it's clear that the adoption rate is rising and the expansion
rate is soaring along with it.
Just a few years after in-flight Wi-Fi became a real, tangible thing,
there are already 33% of all domestic plans outfitted with the
technology. That's right. One in three planes that criss-cross the U.S.
has in-flight Wi-Fi available to patrons. Of course, most of those
planes serve a select few routes, so it will still take time for the
final 2/3rds to join in. In fact, we suspect that it will take far, far
longer to reach 100% than it did to hit 33%. The primary reason is that
there's not nearly as much demand for in-flight Wi-Fi in non-business
hubs, and there's not nearly as much demand on short-haul flights where
you'd have to put your laptop away for landing just about as soon as you
were cleared to take it out.
Also, in-flight Wi-Fi is still rather expensive, and the price plans
aren't very user-friendly. If there were a per-hour service, maybe more
people would take advantage. And users also need AC outlets in every
seat (or else, they better pack a huge battery); otherwise their machine
will die before they can fully use their Internet time. Still, it's
impressive to see 1/3 of all U.S. planes already equipped, and we hope
that more and more catch up in time. But we hope a few other things
happen alongside of it, including better pricing schemes and in-flight
power for all.