Internet access on plane rides! Is anyone as excited about this as I am?
I have been patiently waiting for the time to come where I could look forward to opening up my laptop to do something productive on the plane (besides catching up on reading and naps). With the internet universally available while you’re on the ground through wi-fi, cell phones/smart phones and wireless cards for your laptop, it’s a huge takeaway when you board the plane and can’t compulsively check your email. Yes, it’s temporary, but an inconvenience when you want to catch up on some work or do something to entertain yourself while you sit in idle stillness. No readily available internet access is like stepping into the 1990s.
JetBlue Airways will be offering email and instant messaging on one of their planes next Tuesday – FOR FREE. They have acknowledged that the service is still in its testing phases, but it’s a great way to build awareness momentum. I, as well as the rest of the loyal internet-using population will be more inclined to purchase a JetBlue ticket over another just to try out the new service. Although I’m not entirely sure what JetBlue’s strategy is here, my gut feeling tells me that their intentions of providing these new features is to lure the young adult audience, as well as the tech-savvy. Email checking and instant messaging on an air flight? Those two features will provide more than enough entertainment and “productivity.” It’s genius. It’s important to note that JetBlue is not providing a full range of internet access, just email and instant messaging. Anything more would require much more bandwidth that they could handle for now.
However, the next wave of internet services on airplanes will be coming in the following months by American Airlines, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines. The downside to their internet options is that they will be charging the service at approximately $10 a flight. Not entirely that bad if you really need or want it – especially if you think of it as a convenience cost.
I’m curious to find out how each airline plans on promoting and representing each of their internet services in the future. I’ll definitely be keeping up with this.