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JetBlue to Offer WiFi

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the guess-where-i'm-iming-you-from dept.

121

andyring writes "Although some trans-Atlantic flights offer WiFi for a fee, JetBlue has won approval from the FCC to provide WiFi on their flights." From the article: "While Verizon's telephone service aboard commercial planes has not done well because of the high cost to use the phones, there has been interest in offering high-speed Internet access in the air to business travelers. The licenses will not mean travelers can soon use their cell phones in the air. The FCC and Federal Aviation Administration are still weighing whether to permit that."

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121 comments

Nice try... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15458459)

Cell phones won't really work 35,000 feet up anyway. I've turned my cell phone on mid-flight to send a txt message, and I can never get a signal until we are on or near the ground.

Re:Nice try... (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460766)

They have talked about setting up a cell 'tower' in the plane that goes over a sat link so your phone works properly.

VOIP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15458466)

What about phone calls over the internet, with services like Skype?

Re:VOIP? (5, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458520)

Absolutely not. Unlike normal wireless internet access, VoIP over wireless networking would cause fiscal interference with the in-flight phones, which would result in the airline to crash straight into the ground.

Re:VOIP? (3, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458623)

It's likely you won't get the bandwidth, or the latency will be too high, ports will be blocked, etc...

Re:VOIP? (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458859)

I got over 800 kbps for a long time while flying Stockholm <=> Chicago a month ago. I think Skype connected just fine, but I was in no need to make any calls. The latency is certainly a problem, but I'm not sure if the normal in-flight phone is any better in this regard, as I think that is also done by satellite uplink on longhaul flights, which should be the most significant part of the delay anyway.

Re:VOIP? (1)

Pattyb628 (972142) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458876)

If they are indeed going to offer in flight Wifi, I doubt it would provide enough bandwidth for VOIP.

Lufthansa offers in flight Wifi already, and the bandwidth is typically 120 - 160kbps (although they claim that they offer higher bandwidth). If they use satellite to relay the signal to a ground staion, then you're looking at 500-600ms delays. Given the this, the VOIP quality would be pretty crappy.

Re:VOIP? (1)

saridder (103936) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459753)

on paper I woud agree that those parameters would make for a crappy voip call, but I decided to play with it on one flight and it worked awesome. I actually called my CEO to show him and even got a call back.

Re:VOIP? (1)

gaijinsr (685623) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460674)

It probably depends very much on how many people on the plane you are actually sharing your bandwidth with at the moment when you are trying to make the call. I had a voucher for internet access on a Lufthansa flight between Europe and Japan in March and I was absolutly amazed, the latency was a bit longer than usual (but still OK) and the voice quality was just like a call to a cell phone. I called a few friends and I had some funny conversations ("You are WHERE ? 10000 metres over SIBERIA ?!")

Skype definitely makes inflight phone calls affordable, for the price of a minute on a traditional satellite phone, you can use the internet service for almost an hour ...

Price? (1)

madnuke (948229) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458469)

I had to use one of those phones they have on planes it cost me a bomb, I can only imagine this will cost a lot more than if you were say surfing on your laptop in a hot spot in Starbucks. But I welcome the move of wifi, I think the use of cell phones will cause more problems with people getting anoyed at other people talking loudly raising cabin tensions.

Note to Self (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458475)

In Post-9/11 America, do not attempt to host a CounterStrike server on laptop and use WiFi to see if anyone's interested in a little ad-hoc FPS action.

Re:Note to Self (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458802)

I was flying JetBlue about two days ago... and was actually fairly tempted to load up HL2. Something just told me it might be frowned upon, and not just because of the melted tray table that would ensue.

Re:Note to Self (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459746)

I did even worse and got away with it. I fly Jetblue from JFK to Oakland every few weeks, and my most recent trip I fired up xplane and flew a jetblue blue around a bit. I more or less did the same flight we were doing. I didn't go the whole flight, only about 45 mins.

Re:Note to Self (1)

nethneta (920417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459947)

"In Post-9/11 America, do not attempt to host a CounterStrike server on laptop and use WiFi to see if anyone's interested in a little ad-hoc FPS action."

Terrorists win.

Great. Just great. (4, Insightful)

shiafu (220820) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458482)

As if the "brrrrrring" / "brrrrruuung" sounds of AOL instant messenger were not annoying enough in the college dorms.

Re:Great. Just great. (3, Funny)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458583)

or the creepy roommate who watches ass-porn while I'm sitting 3 feet away from him in the cramped dorm room will now be 3 INCHES away.

Re:Great. Just great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459099)

Streaming ass porn over wifi? Dude, everyone views it locally on their hard drives.

Re:Great. Just great. (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459377)

nope, this roommate didn't want it "stored on his computer" -- apparently he didn't understand caching.

So instead of cell phone... (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458483)

we'll get a bunch of idiots blathering over VOIP.

Great! :(

One of the last bastions of not having to listen to idiots shout their personal business gone.

Sigh.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15458548)

we'll get a bunch of idiots blathering over VOIP.

Having spent my very first flight ever next to an apparently friendless salesman from Fargo, ND, let me tell you I would much rather have had him blathering over VoIP than at me.

One of the last bastions of not having to listen to idiots shout their personal business gone.

If this is that big of deal for you, book a private flight, fly first class, put on a pair of headphones, or see if you can convince an airline or two to implement a "no VoIPing" section/flight.

Sigh.

I think you meant "Whine."

Re:So instead of cell phone... (3, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458644)

I'll fly close to 200k miles this year. I meant sigh.

Flying in first isn't hoing to solve anything and NR headphones are much better at regular, low frequency sounds than they are at voice. Also, they get a little tedious to wear for 10+ hours or while trying to sleep.

Check out a frequent flyer web site like flyertalk.com and see what regular travelers think of phones on planes. The sentiment is very much against them, probably over 90%. Yeah, if you travel 1-2x a year, it no skin off your nose. It's a different story when it's more like 10-20 hrs/week.

Phones on a plane! (1)

Jay Carlson (28733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460397)

"I want these motherfucking phones off this motherfucking plane!"

While I, a flyertalk poster, agree that it will really suck when the vast unwashed masses spend a JFK->ICN hop chatting to their book club (yes, that's 16 hours), it seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

First, we've already had the possibility of this. Airfone covers the lower 48 pretty well, and some vessels have satellite service as well. I've both called and received from them for several years. Admittedly these calls were cut off a bit short given how expensive they looked to get. Every now and then they'd run specials; one of my guilty pleasures was MUDding from an HP200LX palmtop back when your seatmates thought that was hot tech.

There's no good reason for the airlines to make it easy to bypass the Airfone pricing. So after all you nerds get done posting success reports about skype and gtalk, don't be surprised if jitter for UDP "mysteriously" starts wandering into ham radio range. Second, paid international business class is one of the things that keeps many US-flagged carriers alive. And now things get weird.

Oddly, many companies are willing to buy business class fares for their employees on long flights, but find in-flight communications expenses to be strictly unallowable, regardless of ticketed class. Never mind that the difference between discounted business and discounted coach can be thousands of dollars....wait, what's this "can be?" Math: five dollars a minute is *only* $300 an hour. If I'm going to sleep four hours anyway, can I have a seat in the back of the bus if I get decent net access for some of the rest?

But up in business class, the selling point is "we'll deliver your employees to their destination and they'll be rested." If Phones On A Plane interfere with this, we're either going to see lower international C fares, or FA nazis telling people to hang up and fly.

And at least for flights arriving in the US, failing to follow the directions of a flight crew tends to lead to a very quick trip through Customs....

Re:Phones on a plane! (1)

Jay Carlson (28733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460439)

I know it's bad form to reply to yourseslf, but:

But up in business class, the selling point is "we'll deliver your employees to their destination and they'll be rested." If Phones On A Plane interfere with this, we're either going to see lower international C fares, or FA nazis telling people to hang up and fly.

This is an excellent reason for the carriers to deliberately fail to regulate loud annoying people in the coach cabin. If you don't buy tickets that book into C, your employees are going to be hosed when they get to their destinations. There might be screaming babies, but if not, we've got loudmouths with VoIP. So cough up the dough to upgrade.

There's a fascinating game of chicken going on: how bad can the domestic carriers make discounted coach before corporate and government policies booking tickets decide that "lowest in discounted coach" has adverse effects on productivity?

Re:So instead of cell phone... (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460006)

"Having spent my very first flight ever next to an apparently friendless salesman from Fargo, ND, let me tell you I would much rather have had him blathering over VoIP than at me."

Plug a headset with a microphone in your laptop and pretend you're using VoIP, so the adjoining salesman won't interrupt your three-hour-long phone call.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (2, Insightful)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458651)

I share your fear. Just yesterday, I spent eleven hours on an Amtrak train from Boston to Syracuse. All around me, people were yakking nonstop on their cell phones. Reading and working was practically impossible.

I'm guessing that in a few years, cellphone and VOIP talk on airplanes will be widespread. At that point, you're going to be stuck bringing headphones and listening to music for your entire flight. What a bummer that will be.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458709)

"At that point, you're going to be stuck bringing headphones and listening to music for your entire flight. What a bummer that will be."

And that's different from the current situation... how? The plane itself already makes an annoying amount of noise. Mostly-white noise. you know, the kind that makes it hard to hear conversations more than a few feet away. And at a level that noise-cancelling headphones are already a must for anyone who cares about their ears or sleeping or that portable movie you brought.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458726)

Right! Time to ban talking in public places!

Or you could buy some earplugs.

But why... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459915)

But why should they have to spend $.30 on a pair of earplugs to allow them and everyone else to get what they want, when they can just demand that everybody modify their behavior for their convinence. After all, the assholes demanding silence in public places are more important than everyone else, right?

Re:So instead of cell phone... (2, Informative)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458745)

There are all the trains in europe where they ban cell phones except in special cars. Knowing this, the last time I spent an inordinate ammount of time on an amtrak, I simply ran up a large bill for text messages so that I could avoid annoying the very annoying woman sitting next to me.

I certainly hope they keep cell phones off of flights...(and even though they work on most flights, they are a HUGE strain on the tower network on the ground which is not designed to deal with calls from airplanes.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459077)

There are all the trains in europe where they ban cell phones except in special cars.

Having travelled the breadth of Europe by train, from the Iberian peninsula to the Ural mountains, I've only once seen a request (not even an obligation) for no cell phone use in the car. "Banning" of cell phones is not common there, and the situation is much the same as in the U.S.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460020)

The poster mentioned Amtrak, so is in the USA. All the things which one thinks are better are always being done in Europe. In European countries, all the things which one thinks are better are always being done in the USA.
And I'm in the USA, so I know that the latter must be true.

Re:So instead of cell phone... (1)

Orion2 (200288) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461055)

In Switzerland they differentiate: Some cars on the train have cell phone repeaters and power outlets, some have a cell phone and music listening "banning" sign. Your choice when enterning the train.
Cheers
Reto

Re:So instead of cell phone... (0, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459057)

Get headphones. I got nice big sony DJ headphones [I'm not a DJ but I like the style] and they basically cover my entire ears. Insert your fav mp3/whatever player and boom no more "quarterly sales" update in the gate area.

I swear some people are just so self-important...

Tom

Re:So instead of cell phone... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459182)

I still say that I've far more often been annoyed by idiots shouting loudly to the person sitting right next to them than into their phone.

NSA (1)

Footix (972079) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458492)

I can't imagine the NSA being overly impressed by this. Oh, wait, data retention! Never mind...

Not necessarily being used for free wifi (4, Informative)

JavaTHut (9877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458521)

http://news.com.com/JetBlue+wins+air-to-ground+wir eless+license/2100-1039_3-6079558.html?tag=nefd.to p [com.com]

"A spokesman from JetBlue said he was unable to comment on what the company plans to do with its 1MHz license. Some speculate it will offer more in-flight video entertainment and Internet services. JetBlue already offers DirecTV service on its flights."

The way the post is written makes it sound like JetBlue is giving free WiFi on their flights. Not only is it not stated it will be free, but it's not stated it will be WiFi, just that they won some wireless spect.

Re:Not necessarily being used for free wifi (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458584)

This kind of raises an interesting question - why aren't airlines using wifi? 802.11b/g uses the 2.4ghz range, that can basically be used by anyone. So I can't imagine that 2.4ghz stuff could interfer with the plane. If so, then I would assume that planes would be falling out of the sky as they fly over residential areas when taking off and landing.

Re:Not necessarily being used for free wifi (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458650)

The way the post is written makes it sound like JetBlue is giving free WiFi on their flights.
Why do you say that?

In fact the writeup says they'll be offering it to business travelers. I read "business" is a codeword for "people who are willing to pay extra," analogous to "business class seats" or "business class laptop."

Re:Not necessarily being used for free wifi (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460242)

Have you ever flown JetBlue? The whole plane is "business class" with leather seats and in-flight satellite TV/radio, though they don't give you free food.

Re:Not necessarily being used for free wifi (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460249)

I'll clarify. JetBlue caters to the business class set: they sell seats for more than a deep-discount airline would, and this is just another service targeted squarely at their intended audience. Kudos to them for it.

Re:Not necessarily being used for free wifi (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458762)

The way the post is written makes it sound like JetBlue is giving free WiFi on their flights.
I think I speak for everybody when I say: Huh?

Re:Not necessarily being used for free wifi (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460035)

I'll admit that when I read
Although some trans-Atlantic flights offer WiFi for a fee, JetBlue has won approval from the FCC to provide WiFi on their flights
it sounded like JetBlue may offer WiFi without a fee, not JetBlue may offer WiFi on domestic (US) flights for a fee.

Been there done that (5, Informative)

original_nickname (930551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458534)

I used the Connexions by Boeing service on a JAL flight recently. It was very good, $26 for 24 hours use on any boeing plane, and was fast enough to allow skype usage, and was much cheaper than the inflight phone :)

I can't sleep on planes, so it was great to check my e-mail and get holiday photos ready on the plane on the way back too instead of losing time.

Also there was an important notice that no ad-hoc connections were allowed for safety reasons, although how valid those were (I suspect: not very) I don't know.

Re:Been there done that (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458714)

no ad-hoc connections were allowed for safety reasons
Ha ha, pull the other one. Since neither you nor I can think of any reason to believe the safety excuse, can anybody else?

More likely they just don't want anybody reselling the service. Pop a second Wi-Fi card into your laptop, get a merchant account to verify CC numbers and you're ready to make a killing undercutting their price by 50%. At least you'd recoup your own WiFi cost, with only 2 sales. Come to think of it [epitest.fi], it wouldn't require ad-hoc anyways.

Jet Blue Rules (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458553)

I have to say Jet Blue has always impressed me with their service, although unfortunately they don't fly everywhere I want to go. Has anyone seen a study detailing the return on money invested in passanger comforts by airlines?

Blue Chips, DirecTV, and now Wi-Fi? What next? (3, Funny)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458600)

How about turning one of the rear restrooms into a shower; so stinky in the middle seat wont kill my Thinkpad with his stench alone?

How about a mini-tasor gun in my armrest for the toddler behind me who keeps kicking my seat? And a fullsize tasor for his mother for being a stupid bitch?

How about a ceiling mounted electric cattle prod for the dude with the overstuffed backpacks that he shoved into the overhead, crushing my leather jacket?

If JetBlue could give me those things, and keep the blue potato chips coming until I say stop, I'll never fly another domestic carrier.

Re:Blue Chips, DirecTV, and now Wi-Fi? What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460576)

Nah, your jacket will be using the cattle prod on you as thanks for wearing an animal skin and bitching that somebody is hurting your precious jacket, boo hoo.

I'm sure the unfashionable wrinkles are just AWFUL compared to how cow felt being skinned.

I'm not normally a "ban the furs" freak, never have been in my life, but your bitching about your stupid jacket is just too damn much.

Bug in the blurb (2, Insightful)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458603)

Although some trans-Atlantic flights offer WiFi for a fee, JetBlue has won approval from the FCC to provide WiFi on their flights.
Why would fees, charged on some trans-Atlantic flights, make it more difficult for this JetBlue thingy to get approval?

Yet Another Reason to fly JB! (4, Interesting)

AudioEfex (637163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458633)

Jet Blue is the most amazing airline out there - cheap tickets, no hassle terms (i.e. you can change your ticket without penalty for a measley 20 bucks up until the flight departs), super-accomodating employees, nice, roomy seats, DirectTV, those delicious blue chips, and now this!

Knowing JetBlue it won't be very expensive either. They are truly the model of how an airline should be, focused on the passenger, their cost, and experience, not simply a government-bailed-out bloated corporation that sells seats next to each other for hundreds and thousands different than the seat next to them.

So bravo to Jet Blue - they already are my favorite airline, and they just keep getting better!

AE

Re:Yet Another Reason to fly JB! (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458769)

And they have very limited routes, which is probably what makes them able to provide such good service. Every flight goes to or from New York.

Re:Yet Another Reason to fly JB! (1)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458860)

"Every flight goes to or from New York."

Really? I must have missed something when I was told that JetBlue flies nonstop from Long Beach to several cities in the US. Or that Jetblue flies out of the Oakland nonstop to several major cities other than NYC, like Boston and DC. Or that Jetblue flies nonstop from Burbank to Las Vegas, and Burbank to Orlando.

I didn't realize all these flights somehow stop in NYC.

http://www.jetblue.com/travelinfo/routemap.asp [jetblue.com]

More accurately, Jetblue is a point-to-point airline.

Re:Yet Another Reason to fly JB! (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459180)

Go check out Jet Blue's website...they are adding new routes all the time. From some places, yes, they require a stop in New York, but that's just for the more obscure airports (Portland, ME, for example).

I know they don't go everywhere, but they go to most major domestic travel locations these days. If you haven't checked their site in a few months, go do so - I'm always shocked at the expansion.

If it's an option, it's great; if it's not, then pray that it soon is. I'm amazed that I'm a "fan" of an airline, but Jet Blue is simply the most fun/convenience one can have in these days of not-so-fun airports and security.

AE

I would love to see them in Chicago... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459528)

I used Jet Blue to go to NYC all the time when I lived in the SF bay area. Now that I'm in Chicago, I miss them.

There is always Southwest, I suppose, but I like them for different reasons.

Re:Yet Another Reason to fly JB! (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458896)

Sure wish they flew anywhere near where I live, or where I need to go. Oh well...

JetBlue is absolutely the best (1)

Dutchmang (74300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459293)

I fly all the time on business and discovered JetBlue several years ago for my company's annual Orlando conference (I'm in Boston). Since I bring the wife and kids along, I used to play all the games I could to get free tickets from my miles (mostly American and Delta, both of whom should burn in hell forever). It always ended up costing a bunch of money anyway, and miserable connections through DC or Philly or Atlanta.

Business travel is misery, pure and simple. Last night American kept me on the plane for 5 hours before they took off from LaGuardia coming back from the Red Hat Summit in Nashville.... and the sad thing was that was not even in the top ten worst experiences I have had from American, never mind Delta (lost luggage three trips in a row once) and United (lost luggage going to Shanghai and put it on the next flight.... the next day) or AmericaWest (I can't even start here).

Flying JetBlue was like heaven. Seriously. It was just an epiphany; I mean how can these people do it so right when everyone else does it so wrong? Friendly service, clean aircraft, great snacks... even a free beer (as in beer) every time I've flown ("put your money away sir, this one's on us"). And if you need something from a service perspective, you can do it via phone or e-mail and a real person will help you get exactly what you need.

Well now they go everywhere direct, and are actually making Boston a hub. I recently went to Austin on JetBlue and should have gone to San Jose but didn't realize they fly there. In the last month they have been added to my company's Web booking app and I'm in heaven.

Latest story -- Was trying to bring my boy's godmother in from Phoenix for his high school graduation this month and neither Delta nor American could get me a ticket. (I am Platinum with 500k miles flown on American, every one miserable.) Finally I just said screw it, let me check JetBlue. Of course I find a ticket, direct, exactly for the dates and times I want, for under $300 including all taxes and fees. And I could have saved another $50 if I was willing to be flexible on the time of day, but why bother?

Anyway, this traveler recommends JetBlue to anyone and you'll thank me later. I guarantee they'll do something good with the wireless buy. Unfortunately TFA points out that Verizon doesn't have to turn over the spectrum until 2010, and my experience with that company shows they'll be in no hurry to do anything good for the customer.

Re:Yet Another Reason to fly JB! (1)

Danga (307709) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459715)

Yes, they have low prices, but at what cost? You might find the following article about how they outsource their maintenance mainly to El Salvador where according to the article:

"Roughly one-third of the Salvadoran mechanics have passed the exam that qualifies them for the Federal Aviation Administration's license, while in the United States, such licenses are required for all mechanics employed directly by the airlines."

Kind of scary, eh?

They are truly the model of how an airline should be, focused on the passenger, their cost, and experience, not simply a government-bailed-out bloated corporation that sells seats next to each other for hundreds and thousands different than the seat next to them.

Have a good read and get back to me on if you think the lowest prices possible is worth the safety risks, which I see you did not mention they focus on safety.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2005/09/27/AR2005092701467.html [washingtonpost.com]

They Blue It (1, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458677)

JetBlue promised not to send its passengers' personal data to Homeland Security (or anyone else). But they did, they lied to cover it up, and were exposed. And they never were held accountable.

Expect every packet on their WiFi to be sniffed, analyzed and sent to the highest bidder. Including, but not limited to, DHS.

Re:They Blue It (0, Troll)

AudioEfex (637163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458904)

Fine with me. What are you so scared of? Are you planning on downloading child porn while you are a mile high?

Look, the internet is an open book...anything you look at, or put on it, anywhere, is open game. It's just common sense.

If you expect any public connection like that to not be exposed you are sorely mistaken. If Bush and his cronies want to know that I read Yahoo! news, checked /., and went to BestBuy.com to check TV prices while I'm flying, they are more than welcome to waste their time.

Smart people don't do anything the wish to hide on the Internet...

AE

Re:They Blue It (1)

44BSD (701309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459575)

Excellent job of missing the point entirely.

JetBlow said they would not release PNR info to the feds. Later, it turned out that they were doing precisely that while lying about it.

You are free, of course, to choose to do business with known liars who hand over your personal information to government spies operating without judicial oversight, and with neither your knowledge or consent. That's one benefit of living, for the time being, in a free country.

Re:They Blue It (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460093)

Great tactic telling me I miss the point just because I disagree if it's a problem or not.

The fact is, the government can find out anything about you they wish much easier than asking JetBlue. JetBlue has no information about me that the government couldn't find much more easily in other ways.

I understand the issue, that the government is out of control spying on us, and I hope that those responsible loose power (and I am more politically active than most citizens so that isn't a passive wish). However, I fly JetBlue because it gives me what I want - a cheap flight where I want to go, and stellar service. Jet Blue has no information about me that I consider "secret", and considering that I have to show my ID and get searched just to walk through the airport my anonymity is already out the window. I can't afford other airlines that charge 3-5 times as much; if the difference is being able to travel the country and vacation or staying home because I'm afraid they are going to report my trip to Walt Disney World, I can tell you which I'll choose.

If they want to report to the government that I asked for two extra bags of blue chips, or that while I was in flight I used their internet access to look up travel sites about the destination I am visiting, they are more than welcome to. This may be considered "selling out", so be it; I'm getting a great trip at a great price and my name and credit card number (the only personal info Jet Blue has about me) are about as hard to find as a Mormon in Utah.

So I'm afriad you miss my point - I don't care if JetBlue turns over information. Life is much nicer when you have nothing to hide, and you learn to pick your battles and are able to recognize when something truly matters and when it really doesn't. Since I'm not a criminal, nor wanted by the law, I'm really not going to worry about it. While the over-reaching government issue needs to stop, my not going on vacation isn't what's going to do it.

AE

Re:They Blue It (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460296)

Just because you don't care about your privacy doesn't mean I don't. When someone steals your ID from JetBlue or some other careless, unaccountable corporate violator of their privacy policies, you're free to catch up with the value of privacy. You say "the over-reaching government issue" like it's some abstraction that matters only in some vague principle. But my right to privacy is my right, even if you think you can waive yours.

Re:They Blue It (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459597)

That's not the point.

The point is: It's none of their fucking business what you or I am reading/downloading/uploading/etc. on the Internet, or talking about on the telephone, and furthermore, those fucks are violating the very laws they're supposed to be enforcing in the first place. It's about rights and laws, and not the fact that today I wasted most of the day reading posts on slashdot.

U send me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15458678)

U send me U-bend plz.

Thx.

No cellphones aloud, but there are alternatives. (1)

Dot Solipsism (972171) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458699)

Skype is the first one that comes to mind. In fact, a hardcore business traveler wouldn't scoff at Nokia's $300+ cost for the 802.11 Wi-FI SKype phone. I, for one, can't wait until this goes from being a luxury service, to a standard one.

Re:No cellphones aloud, but there are alternatives (1)

shaneFalco (821467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459918)

However, the airlines could block the service. For instance the local library here blocks FTP access, sure one can get around it by changing ports (same went for AIM when I was in high school), but I highly doubt the average business traveller will know enough the change the port.

Re:No cellphones aloud, but there are alternatives (1)

Dot Solipsism (972171) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459958)

This is true, but couldn't another port could be used. My school blocked AIM too.

They first had a program that ran in the background that quit any unauthorized apps. The 1st solution was to turn off the program squashing app.
Then they made Task Manager unavailable. The solution was to change the application name.
Then they kept you from access Program Files and DLing software. The solution was to use AIM Express from aim.com.
Then they blocked aim.com. The solution was to use aim.co.uk.

My point is that there is usually a way around it, to an extent. If they tried to block VoIP software from functioning in order to force their proprietary expensive phone service as hard my school tried to block AIM use they would be the focus of some serious anti-trust, so I don't think it would happen.

Re:No cellphones aloud, but there are alternatives (1)

shaneFalco (821467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459980)

The logical move is to ban the use of phones period- cell or VOIP, wifi without phones is possible.

Passenger RF-devices make Planes Crash and Burn (2, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458794)

Just to pre-empt millions of posts: passenger mobiles/WLAN etc. are not a significant danger to the flight instruments and cause for the plane to crash etc. This has been dealth with before. [slashdot.org] Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.

Are you sure? (2, Funny)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459241)

A flight I was on in February had to be diverted because a hijacker armed with a cell phone was demanding the release of prisoners from Isreal. I can only imagine what our fate would have been if he had been able to press the power button before some other passengers and I were able to forcibly subdue him. Fortunately, once we had him under control, one of the other passengers was able to use their phone to call 911.

Re:Passenger RF-devices make Planes Crash and Burn (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459775)

That's not necessarily the point of banning wireless devices. The fact is that flight attendants can't be trained to recognize "good" devices from "bad" devices. Therein lies the technical element to the safety issue.

The other major concerns have to do with personal safety--not being distracted in an emergency when instructions are being given, having the cabin clear during take-off and landing phases, etc. Then there are the separate problems of interference with ground communications and general courtesy--what's okay for a 20 minute bus ride isn't necessarily okay for a six hour flight. If people didn't shout into their phones all the damn time, casual use on a plane during the level flight phases wouldn't be unreasonable, as long as people responded to flight crew instructions to keep it quiet, and we all know the power suit-types scoff in the face of mere mortals. (It's not universal--I'm a polite counterexample.)

If anything, I wouldn't mind seeing a segment of the flight identified as "telephone okay" (perhaps the first hour and every fourth hour after that, or something along those lines), so that the relatively quiet atmosphere can be preserved most of the time.

Doppler shift (1, Funny)

paulexander (255666) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458874)

You would probably need special software to compensate of the doppler shift caused by the motion of the plane, depending on whether the WAP was in the front or back of the plane.

Re:Doppler shift (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458986)

This has to be a joke.

You do realize the plane has radios of its own right?

In the time the signal travels the max 100m from one end to another the plane probably moved 1mm in space at most. They're also fixed points relative to each other.

By your logic microwave towers shouldn't work, and the earth rotates FAR FASTER than planes travel (which is why you still lose time when you travel west).

Tom

Re:Doppler shift (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459513)

Hehe, okay I reckon that the poster was joking, but forgot to hint with a smilie. Anyway about the plane travelling about a milimeter in that time , I thought in my head it'd probably be closer to hundredths of a milimeter rather than milimeters, so geek that I am, I did the maths: speed of light = 299 792 458m/s speed of passenger plane = about 400 knots = 205.777778 meters / second (according to boeing, then google conversion tools) Time it takes light to go 100 m = 100/299,792,458 = 1/299,792.458 second Distance a plane travels in that time = 205/299,792.458 = 6.83e^-4 m , 0.000683 m = 0.683mm Looks like you were right on the money (or in the right order of magnitude) talking about moving a mm or two.

Re:Doppler shift (1)

nbvb (32836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459705)

Great, except that WiFi signals are radio (sound) waves, not light waves.

Now, the big question is, what happens in supersonic flight?! :-)

(Yes, that's a joke folks.)

Re:Doppler shift (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460192)

Which part was the joke? Radio waves travel just as fast as light does [at least in a vacuum].

And it doesn't matter, doppler only occurs for radio [or light] when two bodies are moving relative to one another. If you're on the plane and you're AP is on the plane then you're both stationary.

You'd get more acceleration from moving the laptop in your lap then by the amount the airframe bends as it travels through the air...

I know you seem to be kiddin but this thread is seriously bunkable.

Tom

Re:Doppler shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459858)

It wouldnt matter as the user would be moveing with the access point.

Seat Pitch? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15458924)

I find all this talk of internet access in economy hilarious. On most flights with the seat pitch what it is I can barely open a paperback book on the tray table. My laptop? Forget it!! It stays in the overhead bin.

Re:Seat Pitch? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459008)

Feel lucky. Hell on my one and only KLM flight I could hardly reach forward to eat the crap they called a meal.

And what's with the arm rests that sit 2" off the seat? My elbow doesn't go that far (I'm ~6'1") down and if the plane ever did roll I'd just topple over it anyways, it isn't high enough to catch my body in any meaningful manner. I swear plane designers have to either be super greedy or REALLY SHORT.

I also laugh when I see some 6'6" sucker get on the plane ahead of me. At least they're going through more pain. :-)

Tom

Re:Seat Pitch? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459118)

I didn't realize you economy-class types frequented slashdot. Or for that matter, could afford laptops.

Re:Seat Pitch? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459557)

Laptops aren't the only wireless devices...

I would love to have my Zaurus connected wirelessly, maybe with an external keyboard, but probably not necessary. Most of what I would probably do online is check/respond to email, some light surfing.

Jetblue was ahead of its time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459145)

In privacy violations.

In 2001-2002, they gave the feds all their customer data to "test" a person trackign system. I flew them in that time period, it was a wonderful experience at a great price, and I will never fly them again.

Microwaving humans (0)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459167)

If everyone on a plane turned all their electronic stuff on at the same time the walls of the plane would relflect the radiation and cook everyone alive.

Re:Microwaving humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459386)

If everyone on a plane turned all their electronic stuff on at the same time the walls of the plane would relflect the radiation and cook everyone alive.
Don't worry, just bring that tinfoil hat you seem to be so posessive of and you'll be safe.

One more workday . . . (2, Funny)

carl3po (936709) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459495)

What is worse than the 14 hour flight and corresponding jetlag when my job sends me to China?

Being expected to telecommute from the plane.

The summary is totally wrong (3, Informative)

eggboard (315140) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459524)

Unfortunately, some of the coverage of this air-to-ground spectrum auction has had the wrong information and led to the wrong conclusions. I've been writing about this at Wi-Fi Networking News since early last year, and have covered the auction since its start in early May. Here's the real scoop. (You can read my run down of these auctions over at my Wi-Fi site [wifinetnews.com]. I was quoted in last week's Associated Press article on these auctions and on public radio's Marketplace early this week.)

First, it's not about Wi-Fi, it's about air-to-ground broadband. More on that in a second.

Second, JetBlue won the smaller of two licenses sold at auction.

Third, it'll be up to two years before service commences.

The auction determined which of three exclusive spectrum configurations would win out. The winning versions was 3 MHz to AC BidCo LLC, a sister company with AirCell, and 1 MHz to JetBlue. The 3 MHz license was widely seen as the desirable one because using standard EVDO Rev. A, there should be over 1.5 Mbps available in each direction. (The FCC designed the new licenses to handle EVDO and a few other standards, and the allotted spectrum is split symmetrically in air-to-ground and ground-to-air segments.)

JetBlue, the owners of license winners LiveTV, will likely use its approximately 500 Kbps downstream to carry streaming video or to spool video for inflight use through cached content. Upstream could be used for cabin surveillance and aircraft use. JetBlue might roll out this technology to other airlines.

AirCell already runs a general aviation (non-commercial) air-station network for in-flight broadband, and will be able now to cut deals with all the major airlines that want this. Their ultimate system should be lightweight (thus not a big fuel drag) and desirable.

Wi-Fi has to be tested separately, by the way. They won't be able to just turn this on. The FCC and FAA will require them to test their equipment with specific airlines and planes in order to roll it out.

With dual-mode cell phones (cell + Wi-Fi) plus Skype and other VoIP services on laptops plus Wi-Fi-only handsets, it will be likely that calling in flight will be very common.

The other part of this deal is that Verizon AirFone, which controls parts of the 4 MHz that was auctioned off, now has up to two years to move from 4 MHz to a vertically polarized 1 MHz (overlapping with LiveTV's license). License winners are allowed to give Verizon financial incentives to move faster. AirFone is on 4,500 planes, including government ones, and is highly underused. With this move to new equipment, AirFone might dramatically drop its pricing...or airlines might ask for the equipment to be entirely removed.

who needs cellular when u have WiFi? (1)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459592)

If you have WiFi (802.11b/g), you can make outbound long distance using any SIP client (i.e. X-Lite [xten.com]) communicating to any SIP provider (i.e. Voxee [voxee.com]) at 1.1 cents per minute... Why would you want to use cellular ($0.07/min - $0.20/min) when you can make calls via WiFi ($0.01/min)?

Re:who needs cellular when u have WiFi? (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459721)

Exactly. That's why voip needs to be blocked on airlines. This would be novel for about a minute and then begin to suck.

Keep phones expensive (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459827)

I don't mind the ability to surf the internet on flights. Phone calls, however, I hope will always be prohibitively expensive. That way people will only use them if they really have to. Please don't make me have to sit next to people talking on their phones!

So, do you think the airline will choose to filter the internet to make it harder for people to look up porn on flights? Then again, airports always have tons of porn mags. I've never seen anyone buy one though.

Would you rather typing or talking? (2, Informative)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15459913)

Unfortunately I serve as "IT super-guru" to my consulting group and get upwards of 50-100+ emails a day asking for advice on one question or another. I say "unfortunately" because a) I'd rather they get competent staff for their projects and b) some of the questions are OMG!?!?! answer now or we lose the contract.

For all the disparaging remarks:

a) Yes, there really are emails/phone calls that are worth $5+/minute. This sounds stupid but when you can answer a question in $10 worth of time that saves a $500k contract then yes, all of a sudden $50/flight seems reasonable (and unfortunately this happens more often than sane/rational people would like to imagine)
b) I would much rather get an email and reply (quietly) in kind then spend 30 minutes going "could you repeat that, you broke up" until the person next to me bludgeon me over the head with nearest available blunt object.

Finally, if you're a control freak who's never been on a 10+ hour flight to (insert deity(s) of choice) knows where... STFU. You have no idea what it's like to be stuffed in a aluminum cigar tube with no contact to the outside world and minion's doing who knows what to your servers while you're out of touch (yes, yes... in a perfect world I'd subjugate minions who were better than I but in my company the checkbook rules all)

Regards,

A very, very bitter techie.

Singapore Airlines already been offering that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15459972)


  Flights from Singapore to Japan offer a free internet connection...for couple of month already.
 

So far so good (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460305)

I wouldn't mind WiFi on a plane nearly as much as cell phones. Putting aside VOIP, that is. There will be nothing worse than allowing cell phones to be used on planes. That would be the ultimate and final indignity to whatever remains of what used to be a high-quality experience. First they stopped the good food. Then they stopped all the food. Now cell phones? Please, no. Not that.

But it will happen eventually. There's no real technical reason to ban the use of cell phones in the air. There never really was. All that remains to be done is for someone with a big enough bag full of money to arrive at FAA and FCC HQ and it's a done deal. I remember when flying used to be a great experience. *sigh*
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