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American Airlines To Offer Wi-Fi In Planes

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the new-kernel-perfect-for-sharing dept.

Wireless Networking 303

Firmafest writes "In USA Today there's a scoop that American Airlines will offer Wi-Fi on domestic flights. Price is approx. $10 to get connected. Being a frequent international flyer I hope this will catch on. The LA Times reports that the cost is about $100,000 to equip a plane. While that number seems high, it will probably be worth it. If I had a choice between two flights both equally good, I'd pick the Wi-Fi enabled one." The article also says that JetBlue and Southwest Airlines are at least experimenting with Wi-Fi access aboard, while Delta already offers it.

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Please turn on your electronics? (5, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401081)

...we need the cash.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (4, Insightful)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401233)

If it pays for itself within a few months, then good. Profitable airlines == more competition, and less nickel and diming for snacks and hydration.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401271)

If it pays for itself within a few months, then good. Profitable airlines == more competition, and less nickel and diming for snacks and hydration.

Secretly funded by the NSA actually. A capture will be built into the system.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401543)

If it pays for itself within a few months, then good. Profitable airlines == more competition, and less nickel and diming for snacks and hydration.

Secretly funded by the NSA actually. A capture will be built into the system.

So then I work off of my laptop with restrictive iptables running and SSH to my server which I log into using port knocking and watch videos on Youtube via tunnel. Or I let the NSA know that I enjoy watching the cat flushing the toilet video ten times in a row.

Between the TSA frisking a grandmother and airlines denying people access for wearing T-Shirts with Arabic lettering I have stopped expecting a high amount of privacy on a plane.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401605)

I've just stopped going to America.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (5, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401675)

I've just stopped going to America.

Good solution, because we're the only [slashdot.org] country [slashdot.org] to spy [slashdot.org] on their [slashdot.org] own citizens [slashdot.org] or internet users.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401737)

Me too, I try to stay in San Francisco if at all possible.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (4, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401763)

I've just stopped going to America.

Our plan is working.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (4, Insightful)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401685)

They do not need any capture device plugged in. All communication to and from the plane are done through the air, which is free for most intelligence agencies to monitor.

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401491)

Yeah, and finally...people can get pr0n in the air!!

Wait...that might mean a lot of 'solo' flyers making it into the mile high club?!?!?

Ewwwwww....

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401545)

Wait...that might mean a lot of 'solo' flyers making it into the mile high club?

Who says they haven't always been?

Ewww...

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401623)

That's not chewing gum.

Ewwwww....

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401711)

Wait...that might mean a lot of 'solo' flyers making it into the mile high club?

Who says they haven't always been?

Ewww...

Am I in the solo mile high club? I was 15...

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (2, Insightful)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401803)

cue to advertisements on the inner side of the "thing that looks like a pair of glasses and covers your eyes to make you sleep better" in 3..2..1..

Re:Please turn on your electronics? (1)

Jake Griffin (1153451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401869)

If it pays for itself within a few months...

It won't pay for itself in a few months, but maybe in a few years. If even 50 people use it per flight (a very high estimate in my opinion), that's still 200 flights before it's paid for ($10/person x 50people/flight x 200flights = $100,000). Although I suppose they will probably increase business overall due to the availability of wifi...

Want to see what govt healthcare will look like? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401261)

Go wait in line at your local DMV. Also, see Social Security, Medicare, MedicAid, and the home mortgage market. The gov't has done a real bang-up job on those, hasn't it? First will come the inevitable cost overruns because for some reason nobody could predict that promising more and better services = more cost. Then will come price controls because for some reason it's just not fair to pay more money for more services and cutting-edge treatments. Then will come longer waiting periods and denials for once routine procedures in order to slow the rise in costs. Then will come US citizens fleeing to Mexico for affordable and decent medical care. Man, that'll be ironic, won't it? I swear, you lemmings are all so fucking stupid. Sure, socialism works - as long as you have a perfectly honest and benevolent leadership and until the upper-class gets tired of paying the freight for all you lazy motherfuckers.

Torrent (1)

Ragein (901507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401087)

Ooh does this mean i can torrent films whilst on the plane rather than needing to plan my entertainment beforehand

Re:Torrent (4, Funny)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401123)

International waters/airspace, here I come!

Re:Torrent (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401861)

on a more serious question: is airspace like open sea ? which international laws apply there ? do countries claim the "first 2km above our land" as they do with seafronts ?

Re:Torrent (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401527)

Ooh does this mean i can torrent films whilst on the plane rather than needing to plan my entertainment beforehand

probably not. many public wifi services (like on buses) block all ports but 80 and 443, so you can even use pop/imap/smtp or ftp on them. unless you get your torrent over 80, probably not.

Re:Torrent (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401553)

SSL tunnel;)

Re:Torrent (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401559)

probably not. many public wifi services (like on buses) block all ports but 80 and 443, so you can even use pop/imap/smtp or ftp on them. unless you get your torrent over 80, probably not.

SSH tunnel via port knocking to 443 to a server. Sure, you can't use HTTPS on that box but it gets around most filters.

Re:Torrent (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401637)

SSH tunnel via port knocking to 443 to a server. Sure, you can't use HTTPS on that box but it gets around most filters.

Actually with a sophisticated enough series of iptables rules you probably could run both HTTPS and SSH. After your port knocking just intercept the packet bound for 443 from the IP that did the port knocking and send it to the SSH server. All others go to the HTTPS server.

Re:Torrent (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401789)

Unless your filter decides that no one really needs connections that last more than a 30 seconds over HTTPS. That restriction will break almost no HTTPS sites, but will ensure that any SSH connection dies periodically, as does anything running tunnelled over that connection.

Re:Torrent (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401591)

it looks like they're going to block audio and video conferencing, I bet they block bittorrent and anything else that can eat traffic too. 3mbps won't get them very far though if any significant chunk of the plane books time on the net. They're talking about passengers streaming video to watch... can you just imagine 25 passengers trying to stream video at 3mbps?

Better investment by far in that arena is a larger hard drive and load it up with media to watch while you fly. I've got overkill here, the media folder on my laptop has 135gb in it which is enough to keep me entertained for a weekend, let alone a flight. Will be nice to text IM (if allowed) or at least get email. But I'm sure they'll have the mother of all firewalls throttling and blocking traffic. Better have your VPN tunnels ready to rock. If they're going to allow email, that means imap, and if I can have imap and https they're not going to stop me from ssh'ing easily.

Re:Torrent (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401835)

yeah, but after the third warning from the cloud(s) - pun intended - you'll get booted... though I'm not sure if they carry parachutes onboard anymore...

Virgin America as well... (4, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401093)

Virgin america also has WiFi on at least some of their flights.

Re:Virgin America as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401265)

Virgin america also has WiFi on at least some of their flights.

Delta, as well.

Re:Virgin America as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401535)

Delta, as well.

Your reading skills are impeccable!

Re:Virgin America as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401583)

There are no virgins in america.

Boeing tried this with Connexion. And failed. (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401097)

Not sure why this article is 'news', its been tried before and even Boeing could not make it cost effective even when dealing with new-build aircraft (no retrofitting needed, lower costs than dealing with airframes that have already come off the production line) - the service was discontinued at the end of 2006.

Interestingly enough, Connexion was a partnership between Boeing, American, United and Delta airlines. I wonder what has changed...

Re:Boeing tried this with Connexion. And failed. (4, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401225)

Interestingly enough, Connexion was a partnership between Boeing, American, United and Delta airlines. I wonder what has changed...

Connexion was primarily on international flights, and used satellites. It was a lot more expensive to install ($500,000 per plane) and significantly more expensive to use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connexion_by_Boeing [wikipedia.org]

Re:Boeing tried this with Connexion. And failed. (1)

nanobyte123 (1404899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401795)

Delta already offers this service on many of its domestic flights. I've been using it for the last few months on my flight from Atlanta to Philly.

Wow, $10 for a whole couple of hours of internet (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401099)

The dollar is sure worth a whole lot these days.

So when are American companies going to cut the massive overhead costs of multi-million management bonuses?

Today's magic word is [jetliner]

Filtering will be in place (4, Insightful)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401105)

Another article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20090331/ap_tr_ge/travel_brief_airborne_internet_american [yahoo.com] .

Backelin said the Internet access will be filtered to block pornographic sites -- the airline at first said it wouldn't do that, but relented after hearing complaints from customers and flight attendants. And American won't allow voice-over-Internet phone service, to keep chattering to a minimum.

Re:Filtering will be in place (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401165)

Good.

If some perv in seat 4a can't stay away from porn for the duration of a flight then they've got some serious issues.

the only issue I see is what happens when stuff gets filtered that shouldn't, as you know it will...

Of course, why are you looking up breast cancer on a flight anyway? (Just one example)

Re:Filtering will be in place (2, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401305)

It's a good thing that the guy in 4a has absolutely no chance of having any porn on his laptop already, or one of the Playboy's they sell at the airport newsstand.

Re:Filtering will be in place (2, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401633)

It's a good thing that the guy in 4a has absolutely no chance of having any porn on his laptop already, or one of the Playboy's they sell at the airport newsstand.

Oh it doesn't stop there. Clearly you haven't taken a moment to browse the great selection they have.

Re:Filtering will be in place (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401641)

flying to a medical conference and trying to spruce up your powerpoint with some improved diagrams, or reading through some recent journal articles, or digging for quick references via webmd

Re:Filtering will be in place (0, Troll)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401667)

Of course, why are you looking up breast cancer on a flight anyway? (Just one example)

http://www.google.com/search?q=implant+burst+cancer_risk

Re:Filtering will be in place (4, Funny)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401277)

Yeah and thankfully they can't just store porn on their hard drives and look at it on the plane anyways without the internet. ...oh wait.

Re:Filtering will be in place (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401699)

You're a far more brave man than me if you attempt to get through US customs with pr0n on your laptop.

Don't expect vaseline.

Re:Filtering will be in place (3, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401797)

You're a far more brave man than me if you attempt to get through US customs with your laptop.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Filtering will be in place (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401885)

isn't porn "stripped" from the hard disks at the security checks ?

Re:Filtering will be in place (4, Funny)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401347)

because all the porn they sell at the airport news stand is so tastefully done...

Re:Filtering will be in place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401457)

Oh, stewardess? Could I get a hot towel over here?

     

Re:Filtering will be in place (2, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401831)

Hm... is there a ban on pornographic DVDs or the watching of one on a flight? I'm sure if you started watching one on a flight, you would be prosecuted somehow so why is Internet being singled out for pre-emptive censorship?

DANGER DANGER (2, Insightful)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401115)

I don't fly often, but I'm going to start watching the sky for falling AA planes. With all the radio waves in planes introduced by offering wifi, there's no way the planes won't crash. At least, that's what the FAA has been telling us for as long as I can remember. Now that there's a way to make money from using radio devices in the cabin, there doesn't seem to be a problem anymore.

Re:DANGER DANGER (1)

jgardia (985157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401221)

I don't think that will make a difference. I haven't seen many people turning off the wifi/bluetooth on their computers. Sometimes they don't even turn off the cellphones. I remember once we were landing and a cellphone started to ring... I think the cellphone prohibition comes from an era where the radiation of a phone was hundreds of times the ones we have now.

Re:DANGER DANGER (1)

annerajb (1155635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401285)

mythbuster did a test on cellphones and cabin instruments apparently the radiowaves affect one instrument but they prob dont use that.

Re:DANGER DANGER (4, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401839)

They tested an old busted up plane (IIRC they installed the instruments themselves even) and by turning the cellphone output up way high they were able to have some effect.
Then they tested a real plane and even ramping up the signal to max they were able to have no effect. At all.

The conclusion at the end had more to do with not getting in trouble with the FAA than the actual results.
 

Re:DANGER DANGER (0, Redundant)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401289)

Everyone knows that's an urban legend!

The real reason they don't allow that stuff on a plane is that the electromagnetic waves will bounce around in there and cook all the passengers!

Honest, this unkempt guy on the street, who smelled like a brewery, holding a wine bottle in a paper bag told me! Apparently he knew the real reason and the gub'ment was after him, so he had to hide. How could you not trust someone who would go to such extremes to disguise himself?

Re:DANGER DANGER (2, Interesting)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401367)

I think there is a ban for other reasons. Another legitimate reason I heard is about cell-phone jumping around the cell-tower because all cell grid looks similarity poor, almost the same SNR from 30000 feet, and the cell phone and network will go crazy in switching.

When did your computer crash last time when your cell phone rings right next to it? None for me.
I know airplane has a lot more analog device, but with Wifi, which its active transmission power is like hundreds time smaller than the cell, and being much far away from the important and properly shield cables, the chance of messing something up by Wifi is much smaller I guess.

http://www.avaate.org/article.php3?id_article=1007 [avaate.org]
It's like banning cell phone in train because of Pacemaker? Recommending 22 meters away from pacemaker when using cell phone? I personally havn't seen a news reporting pacemaker malfunction due to cell phone usage...Last time I read the pacemaker manual from my grandma 10 years ago, it was just recommending using cellphone with your opposite ear (right ear usually), keep 30cm away from the pacemaker and that's it.

So crashing a plane? Far from it I would say.

Re:DANGER DANGER (1)

worip (1463581) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401879)

and the cell phone and network will go crazy in switching.

Exactimo, typically the mobile phone base station on an airplane includes a jammer. The noise floor is raised on all the cellular bands except the airplane's base station channel, forcing the mobile phone to connect to that channel. It therefore takes the least RF power for the mobile phone to connect to that particular channel.

Re:DANGER DANGER (5, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401437)

I don't recall the FAA ever saying that electronic devices WILL cause a crash, only that the planes have not been certified with the devices. So, if you have not done the certification testing (expensive), the prudent thing to do is say don't use the devices. Since, as you pointed out, they can make money on it now, it makes sense to spend the money on the certifications and allow some devices.

Also, while the FAA is concerned about cell phones for the same reason as above, the FCC is more concerned. Having thousands of cell phones hop from tower to tower at 500 MPH is not something the system was designed to do.

Not everything is some conspiracy to infringe on your rights.

Re:DANGER DANGER (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401507)

You are aware that radio devices use different frequencies, yes?

Re:DANGER DANGER (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401523)

I strongly suspect that "no RF devices on the plane" is, in many respects, very similar to "no metal in the microwave". That is, not actually all that true, there are loads and loads of exceptions; but the exceptions can be complex enough that it isn't worth the trouble of attempting to explain them.

Re:DANGER DANGER (4, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401673)

no cell phones on planes is an FCC mandate, not an FAA mandate:

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cellonplanes.html [fcc.gov]

"Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit the use of cellular phones using the 800 MHz frequency and other wireless devices on airborne aircraft. This ban was put in place because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground. "

No international flights (3, Informative)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401163)

You are going to be disappointed as an international flyer as internet access will only be deployed on domestic MD80s and 737s.

For flights over water, a satellite based system would be required and American Airlines is not using a satellite based system.

Re:No international flights (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401473)

Even if it's available on Asia-North America flight...only do it if you don't mind the Soviet Russia listening to your traffic.

Re:No international flights (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401475)

And neither of those planes have enough room in them to easily use a laptop other than in first class, of which there are about 16 seats. Not to mention no power adapters so half way through your flight you're done anyway. Sounds great on paper. Practicality wise it will fail just like all the previous attempts have. Just saying, if they are doing their rate of return simply by the number of people with laptops and some poll I think they are being a bit overzealous. Payback will be much longer than they think.

Are you that addicted to the internet? (0, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401177)

That you can't be without it for a few hours?

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (4, Insightful)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401319)

That you can't be without it for a few hours?

Never been on a plane, huh? Let me enlighten you:

People on a plane will do anything to distract themselves from the cramped space, uncomfortable seats, stale air, stale body odor, and bad food. Including paying out the nose for booze, headphones to listen to a movie, or internet access.

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401385)

Read a magazine? Oh, that's right, printed words cause a severe allergic reaction in most people nowadays. I forgot, sorry.

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401877)

Well that's about 10 minutes.

There's another 4 hours to kill.

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401467)

Including paying out the nose for booze

I paid out the ass for my drinks, you insensitive clod!

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401321)

That you can't be without it for a few hours?

Yes

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401495)

Psssst. Hey. You...yeah...you. Buddy. You DO realize you just asked that question on Slashdot. Right? You know? The place where a lot of people go who really like technology and the internet and all that?

Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (1)

The Hooloovoo (78790) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401661)

No joke. $10 for airborne wifi doesn't sound so bad, until you think...

$10 for your 1-hour flight to Atlanta/Houston/wherever
$10+ for your 2-hour layover (most airports have wifi at $5+/hour these days)
$10 for your 2-hour flight to wherever

That's $30+ for your day's wifi. My monthly Internet bill isn't that much. I think I'll just bring a book...

I'd choose... (1)

drewvr6 (1400341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401191)

I'd choose the flight with less chance of having someone sitting next to me with their "personal" music player loud enough for me to sing along.

Re:I'd choose... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401485)

Actually, singing along may just be the way to get them to stop listening to their player, or, depending on how bad your singing is, not listen to the song you sang ever again.

An endorsement ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401201)

"If I had a choice between two flights both equally good, I'd pick the Wi-Fi enabled one."

So then, you are saying Wi-Fi is the last thing you would choose to sway your decision?
This dosn't sound like an endorsement to me :-)

Gulp... (1)

spxZA (996757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401203)

Let's hope they ensure that the network is completely separate from the aeroplane's system network.

Re:Gulp... (1)

Hoyty1 (1502645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401341)

I can see the hack for Microsoft Flight Simulator now. "I don't have this airport pack! We're boned."

Kicking in an open door (1)

wondercool (460316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401247)

" If I had a choice between two flights both equally good, I'd pick the Wi-Fi enabled one."

Yeah, same here, given a choice between two flights both equally good, I would choose the one with the swimming pool.

Re:Kicking in an open door (1)

rock56501 (1301287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401331)

I would choose the one with the swimming pool.

That's got to be a wild ride if you hit turbulence.

I wonder... (4, Funny)

quonsar (61695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401251)

if they'll call it "Wi-Fli"?

Re:I wonder... (1)

MonsterOfTheLake (880659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401359)

Genius. Pure genius.

Re:I wonder... (1)

rock56501 (1301287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401443)

That's what I've been thinking lately... Why Fly?

So, suddenly it seems... (2, Insightful)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401281)

...that it's perfectly safe to operate your wireless devices inside an airplane, as long as you're paying the airline for the pleasure.

Re:So, suddenly it seems... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401339)

My guess is that one reason it costs $100k per plane to install this system is that part of the installation is doing the tests to insure that 802.11 doesn't interfere with any of the plane's systems.

Re:So, suddenly it seems... (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401701)

My guess is that one reason it costs $100k per plane to install this system is that part of the installation is doing the tests to insure that 802.11 doesn't interfere with any of the plane's systems.

I had a cross country flight a few years back with some friends. We created an ad-hoc network and played Worms World Party [wikipedia.org] for about half of the flight. Amazingly enough the airplane didn't crash.....

What if the WiFi causes interference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401295)

what if the wifi causes interference with the planes instruments and the plane crashes? Don't you have to turn all your electronic gear off just for that reason?

Re:What if the WiFi causes interference (1)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401751)

Seems like your in the wrong "age", there where fears for interference but there are no real evidence that any of todays systems are affected by "normal" devices. Even if they where, the distance between the device and the instruments (most in the ends of the plane) is to far for the electromagnetic waves to do any difference.

Also the air is already filled with radiowaves, which is another proof for the "radio transmitters" thats not allowed.

Don't forget Alaska Airlines (1)

hrbrmstr (324215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401337)

They've got a website - http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/help/faqs/inflight-broadband.asp [alaskaair.com] - answering questions on their inflight wi-fi and their @alaskaair Twitter account - http://twitter.com/alaskaair [twitter.com] - provides daily updates what flight #'s will have wifi.

Not particularly useful (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401391)

What good is WiFi when most of the flights I fly on don't give me anything to plug my laptop in to anyways? I'd even consider paying a few dollars for electric service on a flight so I could plug in and use my laptop for the duration of the flight. As it is, my laptop run time on flights is strictly limited to the charge on my batteries before I get on the plane.

And if I'm going to use my latop with WiFi on, that would only drain by battery slightly quicker than without it.

Re:Not particularly useful (1)

kalvyn (561263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401569)

A laptop that cannot hold a charge over the length of a domestic flight is not particularly useful, in this case. I know it is a personal preference, but these 17" laptops that can only operate for 2 hours on a battery are really nothing more than an expensive desktop machine with a fancy UPS.

My personal requirements are to not own a laptop that cannot last at least 5 hours on a battery during normal operation. Extended life batteries are allowed. This limits my options, but portability is my top priority.

Re:Not particularly useful (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401899)

My personal requirements are to not own a laptop that cannot last at least 5 hours on a battery during normal operation.

Unfortunately, with only a single battery, there just aren't any laptops that can last 5 hours with "normal operation", unless "normal operation" is just some light typing.

If you watch videos, play games, or do anything else that keeps the hard drive moving and the video card running higher than idle, you can generally get about 3-4 hours out of most laptops.

Avoid American Airlines (3, Informative)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401395)

I just flew AA and they charged me $40 for two suitcases. $15 for the first and $25 for the second. I understand what they're trying to do here but the problem is that their flights show up as cheaper on search results. You can think of it as a $40 discount if you don't have any checked baggage or a $25 discount if you only have one checked bag....but the searches should reflect that.

Re:Avoid American Airlines (1)

limonadito (969409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401541)

I understand that historically bundled services are replaced with fees that it is upsetting, however I really have enjoyed knowing that when you load up to 100lbs (50lbs weight limit per bag) that it is paid for while I carry on my only luggage (which I have done for up to 7 day trips easily). I would love to be able to search based on luggage fees, that way I know when I'm paying for something I won't use. Better yet, have everyone charge so that people will fly with less weight and save a few gallons of fuel from being burned. I support this by flying only airlines that charge for baggage.

Re:Avoid American Airlines (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401613)

$40 for them to maybe get my luggage to me or even better (and less likely) to me during my trip. This is why I always go to great lengths to fit everything into a carry-on.

Implications (2, Interesting)

eric02138 (1352435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401421)

AA is going to have to make policies surrounding a variety of issues like:
  • How is AA going to prevent me from setting up my Meraki repeater [meraki.com] once I'm aboard and start re-selling their service for a lower price?
  • Are people going to be able to access Skype? How loud will they be allowed to talk before I am allowed to garotte them with my $4 headphones?
  • If the engines on the plane fail, will I be blocked from twittering "Ahhh! Gonna die!"?

The possibilities are endless.

Re:Implications (1)

Lostlander (1219708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401807)

First one is simple just put it in the agreement when you buy service.
Second is also most likely forbidden in the agreement.
Third one is probably going to happen at some point but it could also be used to twitter or IM "flight 717 has been hijacked somebody save us!!" albeit the same could happen and it be a prank.

$100,000 For A Wireless Router????? (1)

CyberSlammer (1459173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401433)

They must have bought it at the Circuit City clearance sale marked down 50%.

Sweet (1)

r0tu (956689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401479)

Watch out for blackhat travelers!!

Already happening (3, Informative)

greenfield (226319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401567)

AA has been offering wireless on several SFO <-> JFK flights for quite a while. And as another poster pointed out, Virgin is also offering this on many flights.

I hit speedtest.net [speedtest.net] from both a recent American Airlines [samgreenfield.com] flight and a Virgin America [samgreenfield.com] flight (Bonus: Verizon Fios and TWC stats, too!).

The connections from the flights were good enough to watch Battlestar Galactica on hulu.com. (I am a big geek.)

In both cases, Internet service was provided by Gogo [gogoinflight.com] .

MSCE Flight Attendents? (1)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401601)

Who is going to help the clueless sales dweebs get connected?

Gogo in-flight Wifi already in service (3, Informative)

nekdut (74793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401767)

Other than the fact that they are expanding the routes on which this is offered, I'm not sure how this is new news. Gogo has been offering service on trans-con American Airlines flights from LA to the east coast for at least 6 months now.

I've used it a few times, and it works OK. Speeds were reasonable (100-150KB download speeds, ping times comparable to mobile broadband, 150-200ms) and I think there was only 1 dead spot for a few minutes during the times that I was logged in. They did not block VPN access so you could conceivably use VoIP once you VPN, but I did not try this.

A link to the actual service (rather than USA today or a blog) would help too:

http://www.gogoinflight.com/ [gogoinflight.com]

Southwest's test program speeds (5, Interesting)

randomchicagomac (809764) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401793)

I was on a Southwest flight that was testing this out about a month ago, where it was free for passengers. I ran speakeasy's speed test on it, http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ [speakeasy.net] , and got about 3000 kbps down, and something like 200 kbps up. I ran the test about five minutes after they announced that we could use the service, and it seemed like more than half the people on the plane had laptops out and were playing with the service, even though none of us knew that the service would be available until we got on the plane.
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