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215 comments

Not a problem... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933197)

Seeing as we won't be able to take our laptops or other gadgets on board aircraft for much longer.

Re:Not a problem... (4, Funny)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933937)

Look on the bright side - laptops & gadgets are pretty ineffective against snakes anyway (unless you open the laptop flat & use it as a bite shield, I suppose). A pillow or blanket would make a more agile of an implement, IMO.

Well DUH (4, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933198)

If you can't bring your laptop on the flight, what did they expect!!? Psy Internet?.... Good going guys!! There is also no market for golf lessons on the flight either.

Re:Well DUH (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933329)

The restrictions on flights have been lifted, and have for days. Laptops along with everything else are perfectly fine.

The only restriction is on drinks and liquids not purchased within the terminal.

Re:Well DUH (1, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933630)

The restrictions on flights have been lifted, and have for days. Laptops along with everything else are perfectly fine.

<annoyed troll>That's because the government already had the effect they wanted - up the security threat level, annoy everyone, throw some FUD around, make everyone go "ahhh, yeah, terror, good thing we have this invasive security" and GWB gets a bump in his abysmal 3x% approval rating.<annoyed troll>

On a slightly different note, I can't say for sure, but the "market" is that more people fly your airline. With airlines cutting back to an unbelievable degree on food, service, charging for headphone rental, etc., and then wanting to charge what I can only assume is $3/minute or more to be logged on, even the travelers with the biggest of expense accounts is gonna know they can wait 2-3 hours to get their email.

The stupid in-flight phones never really took off either (except as a novelty - "hey kids, Dad's calling from in the air!") because they were so rediculously expensive.

Thanks, but until it's like $5 for internet access for the whole flight, I'll just wait until we land and hit up the nearest Starbucks or Panera Bread for my wifi.

Re:Well DUH (2, Informative)

mistered (28404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933881)

You know what they say about making assumptions... As someone who actually used the service, I can assure you it wasn't "$3/minute or more." In fact, I paid around $30 for a transatlantic flight -- which isn't cheap compared to normal wifi access points, but is reasonable in my opinion.

Re:Well DUH (1)

gutu (450788) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933360)

I guess that one of the main problem is the battery life, not every seat has convient plug to keep your laptop running for that 12h flight

Re:Well DUH (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933525)

If you can't bring your laptop on the flight, what did they expect!!?

If this happens, then JetBlue will probably build a keyboard into the seat tray. Maybe you'd VPN into your corporate network.

Enough ubiquitous Internet and terminal access and you end up with laptops and PDAs being obsolete.

Re:Well DUH (2, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933674)

If this happens, then JetBlue will probably build a keyboard into the seat tray.

Wow - that seems like a big investment to get people to flock to your airline. I'd think free booze might cost about the same, and people (everyone I know) would definetly fly such an airline. Plus, it would be easier to spot terrorists - they'd be the sober ones.

Re:Well DUH (2, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933746)

hI'd think free booze might cost about the same, and people (everyone I know) would definetly fly such an airline.

Ah, this harkens back to the days when "Jet Set" implied a sybaritic life of privilege and pleasure, not an endless grid of boarding and trying catch a few winks of sleep on red eyes. Back in the day before laptops, you took a book on a flight just in case your seatmate was a bore (if you were a bore that was his or hopefully, her problem).

However, it is almost certainly not the case that free booze would be cheaper than keyboards. Booze remains one of the most expensive things that is routinely served. Just ask the casinos, who increasingly have sensors on booze bottles that wire the manager when the bartender is poring long shots. Furthermore, the keyboards are capital expenses, the booze is an operating expense. Over a few dozen flights, you'd have spent a lot more money on booze than on keyboards, if they were installed when the plane was outfitted, not retrofitted.

Re:Well DUH (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933927)

Booze remains one of the most expensive things that is routinely served. Just ask the casinos, who increasingly have sensors on booze bottles that wire the manager when the bartender is poring long shots.

Sounds like a job for bar monkey [barmonkey.net].

Re:Well DUH (2, Insightful)

Ctrl-Alt-Del (64339) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933560)

It's not really practical to use a laptop on a plane, unless you're in business/first class; firstly due to the lack of space to actually get it out, and secondly, few airlines provide power to economy class seats.

bastards. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933202)

bastards.

where's the market (4, Insightful)

annakin (994045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933205)

As evidenced by Sept. 11's Flight 93, cell phones work perfectly well at high altitudes. So as the broadband capability of these phones increases, it's obvious that dedicated services such as Connexion are targeting a redundant market.

Re:where's the market (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933223)

Cell phones do not work in high altitudes. This is a proven, scientific fact.

What you are referring to were fake phone calls created to market the war on "terror"...aka "Let's roll!" (yeah, right - who actually believes that's what you say before you go to die).

Re:where's the market (2, Informative)

Ponzicar (861589) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933244)

So the government convincingly faked every single call made by the passengers to their friends and families? Not a single one of them realized it wasn't really who they thought it was?

Re:where's the market (1, Interesting)

annakin (994045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933338)

Yep. Take a look at the case of Mark Bingham, who was GAY and called his mother using his last name. Various internet theories have circulated that calling by his last name was "his thing," which contradicts interviews with his mother showing her incredulity at the incident. Even if a gay boy had done such a thing, it doesn't explain why he repeated himself or why he ignored questions about the hijacking taking place in his presence.

Re:where's the market (5, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933258)

False. Cell phones DO work at high altitudes. High altitudes gives them good LOS to multiple cell towers.

What IS true and a scientifically proven fact is that cell phones at high altitudes create unusually high loads on the cellular network. See what I said earlier about good LOS to *multiple* towers? The end result is that instead of appearing as a user on one tower on a given frequency and nowhere else, it appears as a user or a strong interferer on many towers.

The end result is that while a cell network may have the capacity to server N users on the ground per cell, it can only support a total of around N users in the air for ALL cells within LOS of the aircraft. This is why the ban on airborne cell phones was originally an FCC rule, not an FAA one.

Re:where's the market (1)

Lefty_POl (991603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933371)

I want to know why people use mobile phones on planes! Isn't part of the standard safety chat to switch off and NOT use any mobile telecommunication equipment whilst in flight...or is that just the EU and the crazy americans get to make up their own rules as usual!

Re:where's the market (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933436)

No it is the same on this side of the pond as well. But it seems some morans (especially the guy sitting behind me on my third to last flight) thinks that doesn't apply the literal moment the wheels touch ground.

Also with regards to 93, I thought they were using the phones embedded in the seat ahead that usually cost $10 a minute.

Re:where's the market (2, Informative)

Matje (183300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933559)

yes but they researched it and it turns out to be bonk. There is no safety risk involved with calling from the airplane. That's why both in the EU and US the flight authorities are debating whether to allow GSM calls from the airplane. This was reported in the NY times a while ago.

Re:where's the market (2, Informative)

farenka (937963) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933425)

Cellular Phones doesn't work at high altitude, at least not in Italy an not on GSM service. A friend of mine worked for Alitalia as a technician and sometimes he flyed on short test flights from Fiumicino Airport (on Boing and Airbus airplanes). Just take off, few minutes around, and landing. He usually go around on the plane to do some checks and there are no flight attendents at all. So one time he didn't turned off his phone just to see what happens. The phone was connected to the network during the take off, but in few minutes he lost the signal at all.

Re:where's the market (3, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933818)

Was he near a window or not?

Keep in mind that the metal fuselage of the aircraft provides quite a bit of RF shielding and radiation pattern distortion, I would not be surprised if you could use a cell phone near a window but not from an aisle.

It's a fact that people HAVE used cell phones on airplanes before, and back in the old AMPS analog days, the problem of hitting multiple cells was much worse. Not only did it cause interference problems at the additional cells, it often cause people to be billed multiple times for the same call and other such oddities because the network was designed with the assumption that a phone could NEVER be heard from a distance greater than a certain amount.

In the case of GSM, there is an inherent limit on the distance of a phone from a tower, I forget the exact limit. It could potentially cause GSM phones to completely fail above a certain altitiude, but you only need 1000-2000 feet of altitude (extremely low for an airliner) for the assumptions used in designing cellular networks to all go out the window.

A common misconception (5, Insightful)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933633)


Cellphones, of course, don't work on flights as a general rule. They only work on flights THAT PASS OVER LOTS OF CELL PHONE CELLS. The Pacific, the Gobi, the Sahara, and Greenland are all good examples of places not rich in cell phone cells.

Of course, if by 'plane travel' you unconsciously mean 'plane travel within the continental United States', then sure, you can just use your cell phone.

Re:where's the market (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933753)

Whoa man, you must have registered for slashdot back in the dark ages. That's the lowest number I've ever seen on this page... :)

Kudos.

Re:where's the market (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933298)

I thought the passengers had used the phones that come in the seat backs of most flights these days.

Re:where's the market (3, Interesting)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933374)

The self-professed liberal radio commentator Ed Schultz is a pilot. He says he uses his cell phone while flying all the time and the guy who is spreading the rumor that they don't work on planes as part of a conspiracy theory is an idiot.

Re:where's the market (1)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933480)

That's just to say that he's a proverbial asshole in that way. I don't know where the idea that cellphones "don't work" on planes came from, but in fact they cause far more trouble there by "working".

Re:where's the market (2, Informative)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933543)

I guess he is a GA pilot. Somewhat different circumstances, you are in a slower plane, you fly lower and there isn't so much fuselage around you, especially in the cockpit.

Inside a typical commercial jet, you fly at about 30K feet, the RF has to find its way out through the portholes so the mobile's transmitter automatically ramps up to maximum. You have line of sight to the ground stations but at full cruising altitude, they have antennas tweaked to send out mostly sideways.

It will work, but not very well and you will cause system problems on the ground.

Re:where's the market (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933708)

>He says he uses his cell phone while flying all the time
wasm't their a gadget they were putting in planes that would tell cell phones to go to minimum power only? I know that I forgot to turn off my cell phone until we started taxing to the runway, grabbed it, and it had dropped to minimum coverage, while having full coverage at the terminal.
this would apply only to comercial flights of course. basically both sides could be right. cell phones could work only on some flights.

a quick search only turned up a quote on flight cell service
"AirCell says its device can address both problems. The company's equipment consists of a box packaged with antennas that controls the power emitted by the cell phones so they don't interfere with onboard equipment."

Re:where's the market (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933593)

yeah, right - who actually believes that's what you say before you go to die

Not everyone is a nerd, you know.

Which means: not everyone is a sniveling, worthless coward.

Like you, for instance.

Tell me, homo nerdo, did I beat you up in high school? Did I publicly humiliate you? Is that why you're so bitter? Still oh-so-angry for that time I twisted your arms so hard you couldn't jerk off for a month?

Is that why you read up "scientific facts" in two-cents magazines (because you can't afford anything better) to fuel your ego while you're cleaning toilets or hauling trash?

Re:where's the market (5, Insightful)

daranz (914716) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933261)

Cellphones don't work when you're over the middle of an ocean. Satellites, on the other hand, can. Plus, I suspect it's easier to use a satellite connection for live TV, than to try and and pipe it over a cellphone network.

Besides, if you're flying over multiple countries, you need to get on several different cellphone networks, which means having to sign contracts with multiple providers if you wanna connect the entire plane, or having to worry about huge roaming charges. Not to mention cellphones don't work everywhere over land either, and in some regions, networks might be incapable of handling anything besides voice traffic.

Connexion probably didn't take off (pun intended) because of the costs invovled. You could pay for a landline connection for a month with what you had to pay for an entire flight of Internet access

Re:where's the market (4, Informative)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933335)

...cell phones work perfectly well at high altitudes..

They do. It is a common misconception that the authorities want cell phones off in flight because of safety. The reason is simple, because the plane is travelling so fast, and the ground system is more or less designed for automobile speeds, the cell system hands off to the next cell very rapidly causing grief for the cell system owners.

It likely will not work when over an unpopulated area, but near cities and main hiways it should. This isn't to say the connection will be stable, it likely will not be. 9/11 worked because they were in a populated area flying relatively low.

Re:where's the market (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933350)

Cool. Next time I'm half way accross the Pacific I'll just use my mobile to connect to the net.

Re:where's the market (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933530)

I'd say the Pacific is a very unpopulated area.

Re:where's the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933588)

"...cell phones work perfectly well at high altitudes..."

I wish they did but that's not been my experience. While analog (AMPS) phones are known to work (and be prohibited) in flight, I haven't been able to get any service from a digital phone above very low altitudes and speeds.

Years ago I loaded my plane with a bunch of guys from work and we flew around town trying to make calls on our various cell phones. It was a dismal failure. Unless I was low and slow nothing worked.

I've really wanted to get a message out several times when I've been traveling cross-country. Even text messaging doesn't work at moderate altitudes (~17,000') and speeds (~200MPH).

--kyler

Check the facts before you mod this a troll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933720)

They work fine in low altitude slow speed airplanes like Cessnas in areas service is available. They basically don't work on jets cruising at normal speed and altitudes. A researcher did some testing and discovered even under Flight 93's conditions, it's extremely difficult to make calls, and they drop very quickly if you can get one to connect. That evidence suggests either it was a miracle those calls got out, or something isn't as it seemed with that part of the attacks either. Considering chemical residue of Thermate, (used for demolition,) was found in the rubble of the three WTC buildings that fell, it raises the question that there might be other inconsistencies too.

Keep in mind the plans to roll out cell phone service on airplanes is based around installing micro-cell sites on aircrafts, and using other frequencies to uplink to them.

PS. Before you mod this a troll, check the facts.

Re:Check the facts before you mod this a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933831)

Replying to my own message before I get going.

Most Slashdotters probably rarely check facts before they mod posts, so here's a link with the results of a bunch of well done tests, and feedback from people who work in the cell phone industry: http://www.physics911.net/projectachilles.htm [physics911.net]

And here is the company that makes the cell site equipment for aircrafts: http://www.aircell.com/ [aircell.com]

Re:where's the market (1, Insightful)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933812)

If cell phones didn't work at high altitude, why would the FCC/FAA ban them? If people pulled them out and always saw zero signal they wouldn't be trying to make calls.

Re:where's the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933893)

Because just leaving dozens of low power transmitters turned on inside a metal can with people in it will quickly cause everyone to exceed the EPA's maximum exposure limit for RF radiation. And having working in the cell phone industry, I'm under the opinion the maximum safe exposure are probably the minimum number they could get away with, even with tons of lobbying.

Also some testing turned up not long ago, malfuncting transmitters can interfere with some avionics even on newer airplanes, although they're way way more immune than the old ones.

abandoned because of security issues? (3, Interesting)

haestan (996215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933218)

I'm not sure if the reason isn't because of security issues. Which public airline wants their passengers to use notebooks during the flight in the times of exploding battery packs and terrorist attacks. Now as there is no mainstream market their Connexion system they abandon it because it's too expensive to carry on just for a small market of private airline carriers.

Re:abandoned because of security issues? (1)

WellOiledMachine (840807) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933502)

I do believe security was a key concern. I saw a schematic a year or so back outlining the network structure on one of the new Boeing planes. The passenger network and flight avionics/com were simply separated by a couple of firewalls. Talk about a whole new hacking experience -- who can take over the plane first on a hop across the Atlantic?

Re:abandoned because of security issues? (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933544)

Mod parent down, it's a stupid idea. Why should Boeing care about these issues? You can still use a notebook on a plane, and until that is outlawed, why should Boeing go further than the already-paranoid authorities and forfeit maybe considerable revenue? The truth is simply what they say: it wasn't making them any money.

pricing (5, Informative)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933227)

Pricing seems to have been not unreasonable

http://www.connexionbyboeing.com/index.cfm?p=cbb.p ricing&lang=en [connexionbyboeing.com]

Internet Flight
Get flat-rate access for your entire flight.

$26.95 for entire flight, including connecting flights within 24 hours of signing in.*

Internet Time
Get 1, 2, or 3 hours of access. Internet Time begins when you sign in and counts down whether you are signed in or not.
Access Price
1 hour $9.95
2 hours $14.95
3 hours $17.95

*Price shown in US dollars. No taxes or duties will be added. Prices are reduced during maintenance periods.

Re:pricing (4, Insightful)

frisket (149522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933247)

I think they were overoptimistic at that price. There isn't a "market" for this service: rightly or wrongly, people expect it to be free of charge, like a seat, or in-flight meals on long-haul.

Re:pricing (4, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933280)

I'm not so sure... Previously, the only way to communicate with anyone on a 14 hour flight was voice calls which are quite expensive as well. At least this way business travellers could get some extra work done, and not be completely out of touch with the world for a whole 14-hour period. Even hotels charge you for internet access (especially business-oriented ones).

Re:pricing (1)

novastar123 (540269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933301)

actually, most motels and hotels have free broadband internet access these days, atleast in the states

Re:pricing (3, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933316)

... which is why I added "especially for business travellers". Some mainstream business-oriented hotels charge as high as $20/day for internet+VPN.

Re:pricing (3, Informative)

rikkards (98006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933445)

And in some cases all you get is Web access and no vpn due to proxy config (Westin in Calgary for example)

Re:pricing (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933635)

When I've travelled on business, there has been free WiFi in the hotel lobby, but $9.95 per day from the room for wired or wireless access (long term subscriptions are available if you are a frequent traveller, which brings the cost down a lot).

Re:pricing (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933771)

actually, most motels and hotels have free broadband internet access these days, atleast in the states

Actually it varies a *lot*, depending on where you're going and what class of hotel you're staying in. If you're traveling to silicon valley and a few other tech hot spots, it's nearly always free. Some hotel chains, particularly those in the lower tier like Hampton Inn that are trying to attract business travelers, provide it free everywhere. Outside of that, it's a mixed bag. Few places don't have Internet service in the rooms, but many have poorly-installed wireless service that doesn't work well, and prices range from free to $8 to $20 per day.

Outside of the US, I have only been to Paris and London of late, and my hotels there charged 15-20 euros per day. Those that had Internet access at all.

Re:pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933892)

Its much cheaper than that for me... I just go to the shitter where no one can see me and use my cellphone in there. There is no safety issue with cellphones whatsoever, so I could care less what the fcc says.

Re:pricing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933518)

I think they were overoptimistic at that price. There isn't a "market" for this service: rightly or wrongly, people expect it to be free of charge, like a seat, or in-flight meals on long-haul.

That price isn't ridiculously more than T-Mobile or similar services-- which you have to pay for to get wireless access in almost every airport nowadays (excluding the terminals of a couple of generous airlines like JetBlue.) Not to mention every Starbucks and Kinkos. And I would think people would expect free wireless in a Starbucks before flying over the Atlantic on a 747.

If the service is a failure it's not because of the price. I don't think this is the sole reason, but I did fly an Austrian Air flight that was equipped with the service and I can tell you that they made no effort to let you know it existed (the stewardess didn't even have any idea it was there.) I only knew of it because my co-worker had used it before.

Re:pricing (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933562)

Maybe not in the back, but there definitely is in business and first class. I have used the connection for email and it worked quite nicely and have even browsed /. from 33K feet. The company took the cost without issue as it means some late breaking information could be sent to me in flight.

For flights shorter than about 4-5hrs, I can't see it being useful but on intercontinental flights it is a true godsend.

Re:pricing (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933587)

Hmmm... is there a reason one customer couldn't get unlimited access, then set themselves up as an AP for the rest of the plane to use free of charge?

Re:pricing (3, Informative)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933291)

Yeah... 27$ for a few hour flight is so ultra cheap.
Considering that most people pay about that much at home for a MONTH of broadband
I'd say pricing was a major sticking point and contributed in no small part to the demise of the service pilot.

Re:pricing (3, Interesting)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933367)

Most home broadband services are not capable of providing broadband internet access 33,000 ft above the Atlantic Ocean.

And for a few hour flight, yeah, it does add up a bit. But when I fly from Melbourne to Glasgow, 9 hours to Hong Kong, 13 hours to London, and 90 minutes to Glasgow, it ends up costing about a dollar an hour.

Re:pricing (5, Insightful)

morie (227571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933509)

Yeah... 27$ for a few hour flight is so ultra cheap.
Considering that most people pay about that much at home for a MONTH of broadband


And what about flight itself! It is so expensive! I can ride my bike for three hours almost for free, but for a flight I have to pay hundreds of euros. Why would anyone want that?

Re:pricing (5, Informative)

VoiceOfSanity (716713) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933302)

Understand that Connexion was primarily used by long haul (read overseas) airlines. Companies such as Luftansa provided the service for use on many of their flights. The problem was that almost every US airline company did not want to provide the service, even on coast to coast flights. It was a very hard sell, considering that there was (and still is) a very hard push to get cellphone usage approved for use in flight. Why use a guaranteed connection through Connexion when you could simply fire up your wireless adapter from Sprint and hope that you can get a decent enough connection while flying over western Texas, or the Rockies?

Cost certainly was another reason why it wasn't more widely used, but that excuse doesn't fly (pardon the pun) when you consider most corporate flyers are running on expense accounts, and certainly the cost of connecting up can be covered by those accounts. After all, go to Las Vegas and try to find a free wi-fi spot along the Strip, or stay in the hotel and use their Internet services. You'll pay $9.95 a day (or $49.95 a week) for access (and most places are through the television, not wireless). Yes, I know Las Vegas has a wi-fi grid being developed (such as the free access at the airport), but where the hotels are, they have worked hard to keep those free services from being available to the public.

Re:pricing (2, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933322)

Hmm, perhaps the US model is different so I'll refer to GSM. Most likely your plane would be kitted out with a picocell and jammers to ensure you didn't inadvertantly connect to another service. To use your phone, you'd have to "roam" through the picocell and then be raped at whatever phone rate they chose for you to make and receive calls. You'd probably be looking at least 1 euro a minute, and probably more. Other services like texting would also be high.

On the plus side, your phone would be so close to the cell that it would use less power.

Re:pricing (4, Interesting)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933442)

A more intelligent thing to do would be to add 5$ surcharge per ticket on business/first class tickets and then propose FREE UNLIMITED BROADBAND CONNECTION on flights. They're paying shitloads of money for those tickets anyway, so the surcharge would pass unnoticed, allowing the company to one-up other airlines in terms of service :)

Oh yeah, I forgot 4- Profit !!

Re:pricing (2, Informative)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933448)

By way of comparison, BT Openzone (UK wireless hotspot provider) charges £0.20/minute ($22/hr) for its pay as you go wireless connections in places like train stations etc. There are various voucher options, the equivalent to the "entire flight" option is around $20.

So, compared to that, the prices aren't that bad.

pricing versus performance (3, Informative)

daw (7006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933450)

Those prices might be bearable if the service worked. The real problem was that it didn't. I used it on Lufthansa. It was the worst laggy modem-speed mess, totally unusable. If you're paying by the hour for something, it's pretty infuriating when it stops working completely for five minutes at a time.

I suspect the real reason they weren't doing business was because of the performance, not the price.

Re:pricing versus performance (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933591)

So, it wasn't interactive enough for Deathmatch. It works perfectly fine for email though, even browsing websites seemed to go ok.

Re:pricing (1)

JPFitting (990912) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933721)

The pricing is pretty normal for internet access that you have to pay for nowadays. I think that a dedicated WiFi connection in a plane is much more feasible than "Wireless Internet." Even during my stay in Korea; streaming TV @ 30fps over a wireless mobile phone carrier still had a lot of bugs. Ever since 2002 when I was working for AT&T Wireless they were telling us how fast their 3G service was to be; what a load of crap that was. Until all cellular service can blanket the world with the same degree of service, I will stay with using WiFi that's hardwired (or in the case of a plane, through a Sattelite connection).

Well duh.... (0, Troll)

Mercury2k (133466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933229)

I think I speak for all the _read between the fsckin lines_ people out there when I say:

This was probably done to prevent terrorists from using internet connections to coordinate another attack.

What? Did you think that the new snakes on a plane movie wasn't meant to scare as many people from flying close to the Sept. 11 date as possible, _just in case_?!

Please everyone, grab the nearest cluestick and rap yourself gently on the forehead. Sometimes telling people the truth causes more problems than it solves.

Re:Well duh.... (4, Funny)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933266)

Terrorists can coordinate their attacks using something called a wristwatch. Perhaps these should be banned from flights too.

Shhh...Re:Well duh.... (2, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933317)

There ya go...Quoting Joe Tribiani: "Don't put ideas into his head."...Now watch as another "cell" is taken down, another RED alert issues and watches, shoes, sun glasses, toothbrushes, etc., are banned...

Next they will ban passengers from flights.

Homeland.Sec: "People are responsible for causing all these crashes. After exhaustive investigation by FAA, we have concluded that presence of passengers on flights is 100% responsible for all these h1jackings. Henceforth, all passengers are banned from flights until further notice."
Oh and the $212 you paid for the flight ticket is NOT refundable.

Watch as this becomes a reality in 2007 once the Rep. party wins a thumping majority this year in Congress/Senate.

Re:Shhh...Re:Well duh.... (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933354)

That's amusing hyperbole, but you have a point there. I believe that the US is risking becoming the "shiny wrapping paper gulag", where "consumers" are given tons of wonderful choices, but people are treated like crap.

Re:Shhh...Re:Well duh.... (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933906)

once the Rep. party wins a thumping majority this year in Congress/Senate.
Where you getting your polling data, sport?

Re:Well duh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933743)

I think you're on to something there... we'll need approximately $10 million dollars up front to implement this important new safety requirement, and $5 million a year thereafter.

Signed,
The Department of Defense

P.S. No, absolutely none of that money goes to administration.

I think the real reason was money. (2, Insightful)

jskline (301574) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933260)

I think the real reason for their canning this was that they couldn't find the market for charging $50 for 5 minutes of broadband time on the flights!

You have to remember that anything in or around an airport costs as much as 2000 times its actual value. What made you think they wouldn't try this with broadband?

Re:I think the real reason was money. (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933376)

Hahaha. Yeah, that's the real reason. Of course if you'd read any of the associated documents, etc, you'd know that you could fly a 15 hour flight for $26 or so.

Re:I think the real reason was money. (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933443)

Yeah, but good luck finding power for your laptop on the plane, or even in the terminal for that matter. I still remember a flight I took to Germany 2 years ago, where there were plenty of power sockets on the 56 minute flight to Atlanta, but nothing on the actual trans-atlantic flight.

Heck, I ranted about all these various problems in my blog [blogspot.com] not too long ago. It basically comes down to everyone wanting to act like they support laptop users, but no one actually doing so in a convenient/usable way. (that includes both power and internet connectivity)

Insert Plane and/or Snake joke here. (2, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933330)

Honestly, you'd think the editors would be wiser than to post this story on today of all days, when Snakes on a Plane goes on general release. (Slashdot story yet?!) Maybe they were concerned about security --- trying to avoid worms on a plane and all that.

Philipaustin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933345)

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Health Issues (5, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933364)

Using a cell phone on a plane would be incredibly dangerous to your health.

If you were sitting near me on a plane spouting corporate buzzwords or telling your hard of hearing relatives that "...yes! We're on the plane...", for hours on end, and if I have to hear the latest (and always truly inane and über-irritating) ring tone over and over, then trust me, you would be in terrible terrible terrible danger...

Hich costs (3, Informative)

AndyCap (97274) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933378)

Of course, it does sound like the costs were out of control if they had 560 people working in what's a very small ISP.

Flight times (4, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933416)

Speaking personally, if i'm on a flight under 3 hours then by the time you've gone up, had a drink and got your food out of the way, you're getting ready to land again.

Flights that are 4-5 hours, I usually watch the film, read the book or (if i'm really inclined to do some work) I'll fire up my laptop and work on something offline.

Flights that are over 5 hours, I'll generally try and catch some sleep so that I'm refreshed when I get there.

As such, there is only small chance that i'll even think about using a laptop and, even then, the requirement for internet is limited. It doesn't surprise me that this venture is not particually sucessful.

Re:Flight times (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933444)

Flights that are over 5 hours, I'll generally try and catch some sleep so that I'm refreshed when I get there.

You must not fly coach.

Either that, or you're a better man than I. I can't sleep with my knee jammed into my ass and my testicles pressing against the back of my neck. ;)

Re:Flight times (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933472)

..As such, there is only small chance that i'll even think about using a laptop..

I am much like you, I haven't used my laptop on the plane in over 10 years. I carry it as I don't trust the airline staff not to steal or break it. I wonder if the creators and sponsoring execs of the business venture with on Boeing got fired for not thinking and testing this through before spending that much? My guess is they just moved to another part of Boeing at the first sight of a problem. Now everyone at Boeing gets a pay cut, but management will blame it on the industry.

imagine that (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933475)

the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected.

Translation: not nearly as many people are willing to get jacked for $35/hr for internet access as we had believed.

Though on a completely different angle, at the rate things are going now, soon we won't be able to get on a plane with anything short of our underwear, and will have to fed-ex our luggage to our destination. What happened to the good 'ol days when the people were more scared of the public than the government was?

Re:imagine that (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933644)

"What happened to the good 'ol days when the people were more scared of the public than the government was?"

They went the way of the dodo when the psychoanalysts took over society. Next question.

FedEx it all (5, Interesting)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933887)

...
will have to fed-ex our luggage to our destination.

Actually, I've been doing that for over a decade.

I used to oversee nationial rollouts of systems, which meant I was on the road 95% of the time, often spending only a day or two in each site before moving on. I had enough to worry about without babysitting a suitcase which may or may not arrive on my flight, but was on the road long enough and in different enough climates every week that a roll-on wasn't sufficient.

Enter FedEx.

Every few weeks I'd pack up a load of freshly cleaned/laundered clothes and send them to my major destinations over the next month. Coats & thick socks to cold places, extra shirts & undershirts to hot ones, replacement underwear, etc. I'd put each cache in a cheap collapsable nylon duffel, then into the office for shipping to jobsites with strict instructions to hold for my arrival (there were usually a couple of other boxes full of gear)

Sure I had to pop by a store every so often, but at least I wasn't inconveniently buying a couple of new dress shirts at top dollar every week, and these were already laundered, pressed, etc. Plus when you're from out of town finding a store that sells decent dress shirts or whatever, getting to it, etc. is just another hassle one can do without. My concerns were the job, finding my way back to tonight's hotel, getting fed decently, and getting to the airport; not haberdashery.

Even if I'm paying I still often ship clothes ahead. It is a small expense compared to much of the trip, and frankly skipping the joy of dragging the suitcase to the airport, then the thrill of the lugguage carrousel at the other end (wheel... of... mangled... lugguage! Did mine arrive today or is it on it's way to Guam? Let's wait an hour surrounded by annoying people to find out!), makes it worth every penny. Check in to my hotel, have them send the box to my room, ahh, properly packed clothes, nothing crushed, all ready for wearing during my stay.

Seriously, career advice? Show up every day looking neat & fresh when everyone else is rumpled and worn. Especially true with suits, they can only be worn so many days in a row before getting nasty, no matter how often they're sent out for overnight abuse at outragous rates by the hotel dryclean service. Shipping costs are just a sound investment then.

The real reason this won't fly (5, Insightful)

Inode Jones (1598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933514)

The real reason? I couldn't use it very well even if I wanted to pay.

Given how US airlines pack you in like sardines, I can't open up my notebook larger than 60 degrees. That's not enough to see the display properly. The last thing I'm gonna do in this configuration is connect to the Internet.

I hope Lufthansa will take over this service (2, Informative)

papaia (652949) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933523)

During my trips to/from Europe, from/to the US, I always enjoyed this service on Lufthansa's airplanes. I wish they could keep it available, alongside allowance for laptops.

Countdown to disconnection (1)

danielgoldstein (996250) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933541)

I just pulled up a live chat with Connexion. For those that are interested the service is going to be terminated at the end of the year. (I'll be flying in September/October this year and it will still be operational)

Not to mention... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933584)

Even though the new air travel rules say you can't bring computing equipment on board as carry-on, I'm certain they priced themselves right out of any chance of anyone buying the service. No one's going to pay $5/hour just to surf the 'Net.

My own personal belief is that 'Net access should start to become like electricity, gas, water, and other utilities and just as ubiquitous and accessible. If I go to a hotel, it should be free access, wired or wireless. The hotels that want to rape you for $10 a day or more need their heads examined. Sure, it's profitable, but I've selected hotels based solely on whether or not they provided free internet access.

Market not Ready? (1)

whowe82 (996252) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933656)

Are you kidding, as a network Administrator you wouldn't believe that calls we get about where people are trying to access their VPN or their webmail. Business class or First Class or Coach, there is a market there. Now more than ever it is harder for people to unplug, our need for always updating news and email or IM from friends and family is growing all the time. Boeing should forge ahead with the project, it could be bigger than they think. -W http://williehowe.homelinux.com/ [homelinux.com]

What were they charging? $5/minute or something? (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933684)

Airlines love to advertise services like this or phones on planes when they first came out and then you discover that it's only slightly less expensive than a heroin habit. This is why airlines are winding down in flight phones - not because of cell phones or security but instead after the first few years of some yahoo calling "Woo Hoo guess what Cleetus I'm callin ya from tha plane!!!!!" the charm of a $40 phone call wears off.

Another Possible Reason (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933835)

I don't know about your laptops, but I have an HP 8000 series with a ridiculously short battery life (like 90 minutes or less). AFAIK, there are few airlines that offer a/c current for laptops so this may be another reason why the service is failing. I mean, why on earth would I pay for 5 hours of access when I'd only be able to use 1 or 2 at best.
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