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U.S. Airlines to Offer In-Air Wi-Fi

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the careful-stewardess-i-am-blogging-this dept.

User Journal 252

"Within the next year, US Airlines are going to be offering Wi-Fi service onboard flights. VoiP calls will be banned initially, but the article mentions that lifting the ban on cellphones may still be a possibility. 'AirCell will install equipment on airliners that will act as a WiFi hotspot in the cabin and connect to laptop computers and devices like BlackBerrys that have WiFi chips. In all, it will cost about $100,000 to outfit a plane with less than 100 pounds of equipment, and the work can be done overnight by airline maintenance workers, AirCell says. What makes the service particularly attractive to airlines is that they will share revenue with AirCell. The service will cost about the same as existing WiFi offerings. Mr. Blumenstein says it will charge no more than $10 a day to passengers. It will also offer discounted options for customers and tie into existing service programs like T-Mobile, iPass and Boingo. Speeds will be equivalent to WiFi service on the ground.'"

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About time this came around. (2, Interesting)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591703)

I can't say how happy reading this made me. I tend to travel a lot, and as such, I never get to use my laptop in flight because really... airlines suck at technological upkeep. out of the 25 flights I have taken in the last 18 months, I have been on ONE plane with some sort of airline adapter to plug into for power... Hopefully now when I get into first class I will be able to be online, and actually have power to keep my energy hungry machine going for awhile. Woohoo!

Re:About time this came around. (5, Informative)

FunOne (45947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591735)

Maybe you should try a bit harder to pick your flights & airlines. American Airlines has seat power on all of its airplanes.

This should help:
http://www.seatguru.com/ [seatguru.com]

Re:About time this came around. (2, Interesting)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593105)

Umm, no. I flew 4 times in the past two weeks on AA. One of them was an America West flight. But the rest were regular AA. None of them had seat power in coach. Maybe 1st class.

Re:About time this came around. (1)

geemon (513231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593279)

Just for clarity - America West (HQ based in Phoenix) has no affiliation with American Airlines (HQ based in Dallas). In fact, the America West name is going away in favor of the US Airways name, following the merger of US Airways and America West a year or so ago.

Re:About time this came around. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18593113)

Not exactly. American Airlines still has some old TWA planes which do not offer seat power in coach/economy.

Re:About time this came around. (1)

ranga_the_don (956067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592029)

They will still ask you to dump your device during take off and landing ;)

Re:About time this came around. (0)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592071)

Obviously. They heard electricity has "current" and assumed he was trying to bring liquid on board - ie, a turrist.

Re:About time this came around. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593027)

Perhaps you should look into a non-energy-hungry machine? I have a 14" laptop that includes a GeForce Go7600 and a Core 2 Duo 2.16GHz, 2GB of RAM, and it runs for 3 hours on battery, when I'm not cranking down on performance stuff. Almost 2 hours watching a DVD.

Why are phones still banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18591709)

Especially if they are going to use VoIP?

Re:Why are phones still banned (0)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591747)

From what I have read and heard airline employees saying, the signals can mess up internal electronics on the plane. I always thought that that was bull, and now I am proven right. LOL. Cell phone use on a plane will also be much nicer than paying $87562847 a minute with those back of the seat phones that never seen to work in the first place... Plus if they allow VOIP in the future, it will be even more awesome, cause then I will not be using my cell minutes heh.

Re:Why are phones still banned (5, Insightful)

superflytnt (105865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591909)

Use VoIP now. Just tunnel it through SSH or some other protocol. I hate people talking on the phone as much as the next guy, but I'd make a call just to spite them.

Re:Why are phones still banned (1)

ranga_the_don (956067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591923)

I have used one of those phones provided on each seat in any international flights and they suck for sure!

Re:Why are phones still banned (3, Insightful)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593031)

From what I have read and heard airline employees saying, the signals can mess up internal electronics on the plane. I always thought that that was bull
That's not as funny as the cell phones can cause a gas station to explode myth... For cripes sake there's a battery under the hood of a car... And more electronics in a car than in a cell phone...

Re:Why are phones still banned (4, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592553)

Phones should always be banned on a plane. I can't think of anything more annoying than listening to dozens of conversations going on around me while I try to sleep.


"Hi Mom!"

...

"No, the plane just took off"

...

"Well, it was all right, but our flight out of Amsterdam was delayed. I have NEVER seen an airport backed up like that before"

...

"All-in-all, the trip was OK, but I am SO GLAD it is over"

...

"Well, for one, Linette was SUCH a B-I-T-C-H for this ENTIRE trip. I was so happy when she caught her connecting flight at JFK."

...

"Well, she used to be so nice, but, ever since her an Darren broke up, it has been a nightmare"

...

"He cheated on her!

...

"I KNOW! And he seemed to be so nice"

...

"He slept with NICOLE, of all people"


I beg the powers-that-be to never, ever allow the use of cell phones on a plane. It will be enough for many of us to slit our wrists.

Re:Why are phones still banned (4, Funny)

blueskies (525815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592901)

I can't believe they are going to let people talk to each other on planes. Just think how bad it is going to be when you hear both sides of the conversation.

That will be twice as much chatter!!!!

Re:Why are phones still banned (3, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593239)

Or we could get the government (and people like you) out of regulating this and let the airlines make the decisions for themselves. If you don't want to share flight with people who can use cell phones, fine go to an air carrier that doesn't allow it. If enough people think like you, that carrier will be rewarded by the market. Meanwhile, people like me who have business to take care of on flights who want to use their cell phones can go to other airlines that choose not to restrict their passengers.

but (1)

mofag (709856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591713)

Will it be available to more than business class passengers? If not its kind of irrelevant to the vast majority of people. If its available to economy class, does this mean we will get power points in economy class too?

Re:but (1)

ibjhb (173533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592883)

I would assume that they couldn't just limit the wifi to people in first/business class... Why would they care if coach passengers use it also?

Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (4, Insightful)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591727)

I hope phone calls stay banned. Airline flights are bad enough without having to listen to one side of a hundred phone conversations.

Re:Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (4, Funny)

ingo23 (848315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592359)

Will it help if I turn the speakerphone on?

Re:Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (5, Funny)

peipas (809350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592417)

The Onion said it best [theonion.com] the last time this issue came up: "If they lift the ban on cell-phone use, they better lift the ban on passengers beating the shit out of each other, too."

Re:Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592755)

Good luck to the airlines in banning SSH or VPN to use a home VoIP server to send/receive calls.

Re:Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592867)

I hope phone calls stay banned. Airline flights are bad enough without having to listen to one side of a hundred phone conversations.

Have they taken the seat back phones off all the planes, too? If not I can just put on a headset so I can use skype or what have you, and hold the phone up to my head to make it look like I'm using it.

Last time I checked, the reason the airlines didn't want cellphones on planes was so they could force you to use their in-flight phones which cost dollars per minute.

Re:Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (1)

tabdelgawad (590061) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593223)

I know the parent sounds like common sense, but cell phones are *not* banned on Amtrak trains in the US (except in the 'quiet car') and people are generally considerate. There will always be those who abuse the opportunity, but that's not a good enough reason for a total ban.

Re:Here's hoping they keep phone calls banned (2, Informative)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593287)

Nah. Any geek worth his salt will just establish an SSH tunnel to his home network and run his VoIP call through the tunnel :)

But at least then you would only have interesting calls (for geeks, anyway).

Sweet... just what I need... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18591737)

A jerk talking on his cellphone while I'm trying to enjoy a quiet plane ride.

Re:Sweet... just what I need... (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593285)

A jerk talking on his cellphone while I'm trying to enjoy a quiet plane ride.

Personally, I'd rather have a cell phone jerk on a plane sitting next to me than a screaming child ten rows away from me.

Of course with the "THINK OF CHILDREN!" attitude, no one throws unruly children off the plane. Oh wait... They did once [msn.com]

But I personally wish people they would have an airline that allowed only those 10 or older and charge a bit more. I don't know why movie theaters do that either...

Cellphone ban lift? PLEASE NO!!! (5, Insightful)

mdobossy (674488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591741)

Imagine a 5 hour cross country flight, sitting next to some idiot yapping at the top of his voice on his cell phone. That after having to strip down, empty your bags, and submit to a body cavity search just to get through security. That cross country road trip is sounding better and better every day...

I'm thinking about... (-1, Flamebait)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592369)

I'm thinking about the 5 hour cross country flight, sitting next to the the ass that is either so stupid that he can't figure out that a $.50 pair of ear plugs would solve his problems, or is so self centered that he thinks everybody else should modify their behavior in public places because trying to force his desired behavior on everyone else seems like a better idea than putting in a $.50 pair of ear plugs.

I just wish that airlines would start offering free ear plugs, so we could all stop listening to the incessant whining of a bunch of intellectually challenged self centered ass holes.

Re:I'm thinking about... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592969)

I just wish that airlines would start offering free ear plugs, so we could all stop listening to the incessant whining of a bunch of intellectually challenged self centered ass holes.

Ear plugs give me a headache, and I have used many different types including molded-to-my-ear, stuffy foam, and pre-molded-plugs. I just wish you would go fuck yourself instead of suggesting solutions that don't work for me.

I agree that people should be able to make phone calls on airplanes. I think the solution to the whiny is to send them down to Latin America to take some bus rides. They'll be fucking stoked to be sitting more-or-less comfortably between two cellphone conversations by comparison.

Re:I'm thinking about... (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593037)

Look in the mirror! You think everyone should be tolerant of your desire to yap on the cell phone. It may be a "public" place, but there is common courtesy. An emergency call is one thing, but just yip-yapping away will get old--fast. People are TOO attached to their phones.

Re:I'm thinking about... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18593103)

I know! Not only to people expect me to not have loud conversations in public, they expect me to shower, wear clothes, and all these other things! Fuck that, if I want to go around naked and smelly and babbling into my cell phone, I should be able to do it wherever I want, because I am more important than everybody else.

Re:I'm thinking about... (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593159)

I'm thinking about the 5 hour cross country flight, sitting next to the the ass that is either so stupid that he can't figure out that a $.50 pair of ear plugs would solve his problems,

Game theory, buddy. You making your incessant inane calls gives you slight benefit while annoying the hell out of about 100 people around you. Thus, not worth it. If everyone talks constantly on their phones during a long flight it's worse for everyone.

or is so self centered that he thinks everybody else should modify their behavior in public places because trying to force his desired behavior on everyone else

It seems to be the desired behavior of the masses - I've never seen anyone who enjoyed listening to a cacophony of cell calls - so that's democracy for you. Forcing societal norms on assholes since 1776.

seems like a better idea than putting in a $.50 pair of ear plugs.

Sure does, that's not particularly comfortable. I don't want to have to stick shit in my ears for 5 hours because you can't shut the **** up for 10 consecutive minutes.

You're not so damned important that you can't wait until you get on the ground. In the rare case that someone is, their company will reimburse them for the exorbitant back-of-the-seat phone.

I just wish that airlines would start offering free ear plugs, so we could all stop listening to the incessant whining of a bunch of intellectually challenged self centered ass holes.

The self-centered one is the dipshit who thinks his desires are more important than those of the 100 people around him. That would be you.

Re:I'm thinking about... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593189)

So, you don't mind if I'm halfway in your seat, or have bad breath I insist on blowing your way, farting, and generally being an obnoxious prick while sitting next to you in a crowded, unexitable area for a long period of time?

It's about respect. I shouldn't have to change MY behavior to make up for YOU being an obnoxious douchebag. Keep the phones off the plane. And if they don't, hell, I suppose I can talk loud enough about nothing to make it a pain in the ass for you to have a thought to yourself, or get a word in to your phone buddy.

Laptops and phones on planes (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591769)

I've been curious for a while about mobile phones versus laptops on planes. We have to turn the phones off, but who even thinks to turn off the 802.11 or Blue Tooth in their laptop? Perhaps the 2.4GHz range doesn't coincide with navigational frequencies or something.

Re:Laptops and phones on planes (1)

Embedded2004 (789698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591811)

I've been on many flights where they specifically tell you to turn off the wireless radios in your portable devices.

Re:Laptops and phones on planes (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591903)

the cell phones mess up the cell towers at that hight / speed

Re:Laptops and phones on planes (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591913)

I for one always turn off the wireless on my laptop when flying. Three reasons, one I'm asked to, two there isn't wireless access anyway, three it sucks power.

When I was flying around Australia, and now flying around Europe, the airlines ask passengers to turn off all electronic equipment when taking off and landing, and all equipment that emits or receives radio waves. So, that for me means mobile and wireless on the laptop.

Of course, I don't know whether any of these actually interfere with the airline systems at all, but I'm sure it is regulated that such things have to be turned off.

Re:Laptops and phones on planes (2, Informative)

Morgor (542294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592183)

Well, 802.11b/g doesn't mess up the navigational systems, but 802.11a does, if you have any of that legacy equipment. It uses 5.5Ghz which is also the spectre in which radar is broadcasted. This is also the frequency many unlicensed WiMAX connections used, although primarily in countries where the original 3.5ghz spectrum is not available for licensing.

Re:Laptops and phones on planes (5, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592559)

I have a hard time believing that. If a WiMAX connection messed up airline naviagtion, the towers on the ground would be screwing them up whether a device was on the plane or not. Now, I know that they are not a definitive source of info, but the Mythbusters episode where they tried to interfere with an planes instruments with cell phones and other radio equipment, they showed that it is just not going to happen. They had to do some pretty serious work to get the plane's equipment to a state that it could be affected by non-intentional interference. Look at it this way. If you could crash an airplane by hitting it with consumer level radio waves, don't you think we would be seeing a lot more planes going down? Why take a shoe bomb on a plane. Just turn on a battery operated radio transmitter.

Re:Laptops and phones on planes (1)

Morgor (542294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592627)

Well, yes, you are right. The transmit power of a wimax connection, or any other network connection in that spectrum, is not nearly strong enough to interfere with any airline systems. It would probably be the other way around I presume :)

sweet (3, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591775)

So all I need is a big antenna in my backyard and some tracking software and I can have free wifi!

Re:sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18592993)

speaking of free wifi... whats to stop one person getting this and setting up adhoc networks on the plane and sharing it with the rest of the folk?

-Sj53

Sweet! (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591781)

Now I can play Metroid: Prime Hunters and other DS multiplayer games online!

Counter strike (5, Funny)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591785)

Playing counter-strike will now be even more realistic. Imagine the kids screaming "haha, I'm going to blow this plane, you faggots!!!11" inside the plane. And the real CT squad goes berserker and pull their weapons. Pure pwnage!

Re:Counter strike (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592679)

Sure would be funny to freak out the passenger next to you by constantly playing cs_747.

W00T! (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591813)

Spam at 10,000 feet!

I'd love to see... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591821)

...how they plan on blocking all voice-over-internet -- Ventrilo, clients other than Skype, etc.

Blocking everything but port 80, perhaps?

Re:I'd love to see... (3, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591921)

They don't need to block it, they just have to tell the guy on the phone to shut the fuck up.

Re:I'd love to see... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592041)

Blocking everything but port 80, perhaps?
I hate it when some asshat blocks everything but port 80 and I can't use a real email client.

Re:I'd love to see... (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592153)

I have to agree, this college that I am currently at blocks everything except 80 and 443, needless to say i changed sshd on my comps at home to run on 443 also.

Re:I'd love to see... (2, Informative)

Xenna (37238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592495)

May I suggest you use OpenVPN (VPN over TCP port 80/443) instead?
Much more flexible...

X.

US Air (0, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591871)

Will leave you stranded on the tarmack for 8 hours, then cancel your flight, and then send a media spokesman out to say that you and the other passengers are "liars".

I'll never fly with these assholes again, I don't care if they start installing 46" Bravia's and Wii's

Re:US Air (1)

punkass (70637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593275)

What did he say, "Pics or it didn't happen"?

How do you do that? (2, Insightful)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591883)

What's the point of banning VoIP? How is a VoIP packet different from any other packet? A VPN or an SSH tunnel is all you need to thwart that.

Re:How do you do that? (5, Funny)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591915)

Didn't you hear? VoIP packets interfere with the navigation of the plane. Do you want to kill us all, you fool?

Re:How do you do that? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592083)

So I don't have to sit in a confied space and hear people yapping about the various venerial diseases they picked up on spring break.

Re:How do you do that? (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592121)

It's called "securing optimum voice communication for pilots and crew"...

What? No? Okay, then, it's called "thwarting possible terrorist coordination."

Basically, expect a bullshit answer either way.

Air Pr0n (1)

Zeca (1081231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591891)

You couldnt take your girlfriend to the bathroom for a quickie... Soon, they wont allow laptops in bathroom...

Re:Air Pr0n (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592021)

Uh, I'm pretty sure if you need your laptop to take your girlfriend to the bathroom for a quickie, you're doing something wrong. I know this is /., but come on!

cell phones on a plane (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591893)

From what I have read and heard airline employees saying, the signals can mess up internal electronics on the plane. I always thought that that was bull, and now I am proven right.
mythbusters episode link to prove it. anyway, the risk is pretty low so the major reason for having an in-flight phone is to make money and avoid the small risk of the signal actually doing something.

Re:cell phones on a plane (1)

ingo23 (848315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592509)

While the risk is relatively low, I am not sure if you really want to test if you WiFi card went wild and started emitting high power signal over the radar range, while you are on THAT plane.

Re:cell phones on a plane (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592759)

I read about this about a year ago, but another reason cell phones are banned on planes is something to do with being in multiple cell tower areas at once, and constantly adding/subtracting the tower service area.

Nice try, no donut! (2, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591907)

I seriously don't think that $10 per day for WiFi connection will satisfy the stockholders/investors.
$4,500,000,000 - At only $100k per plane x 4500 planes that fly in the North America area. (guess)
$xx millions - Wireless spectrum

Well, even with simplified math, that works out to hundreds of millions of user-day revenue just to pay back infrastructure investment. Where is the business plan for that?

Re:Nice try, no donut! (1)

anotherone (132088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592033)

The business plan is probably a million users/day for more than a hundred days.

Re:Nice try, no donut! (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592123)

Maybe it is expected to be a perk that would increase loyalty. They used to give out meals and so forth for the same reason.

Your comment made me sad. I liked it better when every little thing wasn't evaluated against the bottom line. Thinking like you leads to no dinner, offshored customer service, ads on tray tables, barf bags and overhead bins.

Re:Nice try, no donut! (4, Informative)

donutello (88309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592547)

100,000 x 4500 = $450,000,000 (You had one too many zeros)

A simpler way to look at it, however: 6% interest on $100,000 is about $20 per day. If you depreciate the equipment over 5 years, that adds another $60 or so per day. If you figure that the average user will take about 2 flights in a day, you earn about $5 per user per flight. Your average airplane makes about 10 flights in a day giving you a potential customer base of 200 x 10 = 2000. You only need to sell to about 16 of those to pay for the capital costs. If you think you're going to get a higher attach rate than that (and I think you are), this is worth doing. Put in intangibles such as product differentiation and customer loyalty and you're far ahead of your costs.

Re:Nice try, no donut! (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592811)

Your average airplane makes about 10 flights in a day

What planet are these planes flying on?

That's 2.4 hours per flight. I've spent 2.4 hours on some flights just sitting on the tarmac.

Short routes you MIGHT get 8 flights per day once you factor in not flying at night. Longer routes you get 4.

Re:Nice try, no donut! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18592851)

I love when people pull numbers out of their ass then expect that they have proven their point with them. It took me a minute to find this on google:

http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/ fleetage.htm

Airline  Average Age Fleet Size
AirTran      3.7         108
Alaska       10.0        110
Aloha        15.4         19
America West 11.9        108
American     13.3        699
American Eagle5.3        267
ATA           6.6         25
Continental   8.5        356
Delta        13.1        434
Horizon       5.6         67
JetBlue       2.8         97
Midwest       9.3         35
Northwest    10.8        266
Southwest     9.4        445
United       11.7        401
USAirways    10.4        248

Even the largest airline, American, only has 699 planes. Or were you considering the entire airline industry as though it were a single company with a single budget and a single business plan? Even then there are only about 3700 jets in that list. Not to mention that you messed up your multiplication by a power of 10 as another poster said, and it doesn't seem like that much of a losing proposition when you consider that they have decades to recoup the investment (and that the $100,000 installation cost seems incredibly high and surely can come down).

Gaming on a plane (-1, Redundant)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18591979)

Some how I see something like Battlefield 2 at 30,000 feet as a bad thing.

Everyone settled down on the 5 hr trip watching the bad in flight movie, but you with a laptop who just spent 10 min going WAY outside the map to get to that one sniper spot. and pop you get the kill and you well out "Ya bitch I shot you" Um ok now the plane is diverted to the closest airfield where everyone gets a strip sarch

Re:Gaming on a plane (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592127)

Heck, just the sound alone if you neglect to turn it off or the headphone jack slips. I think an air marshall hearing an errant shotgun blast or rocket explosion would jump at the chance to increase his real life score by popping the guy right in his seat.

Re:Gaming on a plane (3, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592335)

There is absolutely no way that a laptop carried on a plane can simulate the sound of a real shotgun or rocket.

Have you even heard a real gun before? I guarantee you that the air marshals have.

Re:Gaming on a plane (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592567)

Could've fooled me. Let me go search a few news sites for the phrases "thought he saw a gun" or "thought he smelled marijuana" or "thought he heard a gunshot." I could limit it to this year only if slashdot comments have a line limit.

The "they're-coming-right-for-us!!" reflex always supercedes training. It would not surprise me if such a wild scenario eventually happened.

$10 a 'day'? (2, Interesting)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592091)

$10 a day? How many flights do they think people take in a day? I mean, i don't know what the current average flights per day for 1 person flying is, but i don't expect it to be higher than MAYBE 1.5.

How about $5 per flight? How about a checkbox on the reservation website to include it in the ticket price of each leg? How about the username/password sent to you with your confirmation/receipt?

-Tony

Re:$10 a 'day'? (3, Insightful)

MaelstromX (739241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592465)

Maybe you didn't read the summary or you don't fly much but from the summary:

It will also offer discounted options for customers and tie into existing service programs like T-Mobile, iPass and Boingo.


Those services listed all cost about $10 per day and at most airports they are your only wireless internet options; for instance, here in Atlanta when you connect to the wireless network you can only access the airport information site and the menu of wifi providers so you can purchase one of their internet service packages. It sucks (especially since I used to live in Pittsburgh where they offer it for free), however, it seems like the market has shown that it will support a price of $10 to connect to the internet during your air travel, so it only makes sense that when they are extending the airport wifi structure to the actual airplane they use the same distribution mechanisms and the same pricing scheme.

Re:$10 a 'day'? (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593205)

I flew from BWI to Atlanta, then to Vegas. Vegas had free wifi, and that was good because my flight out of Vegas got delayed for 2 hours.

However, same thing happened in Atlanta with a 2.5 hour layover--BOO Atlanta! I slept.

online is online (3, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592197)

So what will keep someone with an internal wireless (cellular) broadband card in their laptop from using it, and claiming they are on the planes wi-fi network? To the passive observer, there would really be no way to tell the difference. Using cellular in a plane makes it explode or something, right?

Re:online is online (2, Informative)

yolto (178256) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592415)

No, its pretty unlikely that using your cell phone will cause any problems.. Banning cell phone use is mostly a safety precaution "just in case" the spectrum your phone is using interferes with the planes avionics. Mythbusters did a test where they jacked up the power of a cell phone over 1000 times and it had no effect on the cockpit instruments. Check out http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/04/episode_49_cell phones_on_plane.html [kwc.org]

Now they may ban you from using your phone since they want you to pay for THEIR service, but that's a different story altogether.

Re:online is online (2, Insightful)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592797)

I think haveing some jackass sitting next to me talking loudly into his phone for an hour will be a huge security risk. Or rather I might become a security risk to him.

WiFi speeds on the ground? (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592207)

Speeds will be equivalent to WiFi service on the ground

So....how about the bandwidth actually going upstream to the INTERNET? I sure am happy that I'll be connecting to the access point at 11/54Mbps, but....that won't help much when downloading pr0n!

Call This Number Now: +1, Travelistic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18592315)

Call your senator [huffingtonpost.com] now to demand the arrest, military tribunal trial, conviction, and
sentencing of the Al-Qaeda's Chief of Operations [whitehouse.org] .

Thanks for your patriotism.

Seditiously as always,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

$10 a day? (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592341)

Good God, how long are these flights?

Re:$10 a day? (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593259)

A lot of hotspots (Barnes & Noble, Starbucks) charge a few dollars per hour/session. A flight across the U.S. could easily exceed $10 at those costs.

Jet lag (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592345)

The article says that the wifi will cost the same amount per day as regular wifi.
Does that mean it will cost less if you are flying East?

Um, $100,000 ? (4, Insightful)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592401)

Why does it cost 100 grand for a plane?

Re:Um, $100,000 ? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593097)

I'm sure its

1. Regular Netlink Router - $45
2. $999,955
3. Profit!

Or maybe they have special hardware approved for avionics. Remember the crash where the in-flight gambling computers caught fire and downed the plane? I'm sure it costs a bundle to get things approved for commercial flight.

Security (1)

SLOviper (763177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592535)

Does anyone else see this as a security risk? If suddenly we have cell and internet access on planes, "all" someone has to do is get some nasty device (explosive, gas, greek fire, whatever) on the flight and activate it remotely via whatever method they choose. Our physical security on flights is improved, but far from effective (remember the student who got some razor blades or something on a plane a couple years back, not to mention the recent incident of luggage being flown even though the passenger was not aboard). Right now, nothing catastrophic has happened because there are a limited number of people willing to sacrifice their own life for . If we open things up so that you can take down an airplane just by smuggling something on it, I see this as a major problem. I'm not usually one to balk at new technology, but this seems like an invitation for disaster unless we first fix the physical security measures that plague the industry.

Re:Security (2, Insightful)

duplo1 (719988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592819)

How is the risk of a remotely activated device detonating any greater than detonating a tape recorder with a built-in timer (i.e. Pan-Am 103)? If the latter can't make its way past physical security then why should the former? Do remotely activated devices use invisible explosives? Are they in any way different from locally activated devices that make them somehow undetectable? In this case, the risk is inherrently in the payload NOT in the activation technology.

I agree that there are holes in the system, but crying security risk before thinking the matter through does us all a disservice.

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18592831)

This will hardly make it easier to slip an automatic explosive device onto an airplane. You could already do it on a timer, or with an altimeter, GPS, or accelerometer.

OMG TERRORISM, LETS TOSS FREEDOM OUT THE WINDOW!!!!!!!!

Re:Security (1)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592991)

I think you've answered your own question.

Security is pretty pathetic. If you *really* want to get destructive devices on a plane, you could probably do it (e.g., this [9news.com] .

There's no need to resort to some crazy cell-phone- or ethernet-based attack. In fact, it'd be detrimental to your mission, since it's more complicated and has more possibilities for failure. If you think that the potential terrorists are deterred because they don't want to die, they could much more simply make timer-based triggers than internet activated ones.

Re:Security (1)

winomonkey (983062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593227)

Remotely activated razor blades, oh noes!

I said...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18592587)

...There are Mutherpucking spamers on the Mutherpucking plane.

proximity to the head (1)

mrtexe (1032978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592639)

I'm in coach. The guy behind me starts his laptop and surfs the web. How far is the Wi-Fi antenna on his laptop from my head?

Not really far enough for my taste.

When I type in front of my laptop, the antenna is over 15 inches (approx 37 cm) away.

(Laptop wi-fi antennnae are usually on the top part of the lid.)

Install outlets throughout the plane first (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592669)

Otherwise WiFi is useless on flights over 3 hours, where its actually needed. Weather its a regular outlet, cigarette ligher adapter or some fixed voltage DC source, notebook makers will come up with adapters. Alternatively, show me a notebook that can last 10 hours while actually working - hardrrive/CPU on - AND using the network.

Doesn't Jetblue offer this already? (4, Interesting)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592869)

A few months ago we were driving up I-5 in California.

We were stuck in a traffic jam on the road, a good 20 miles from the nearest town. I pulled out my laptop to scan for wireless signals, and see exactly how 'isolated' this area was.

Surprisingly, I found several Access Points with names like 'JetBlue1203' and 'JetBlue1609'. These signals would start at low-strength, the signal would grow stronger, peak for about 5 minutes, and then drop off in strength--- almost as if they were coming from an Airplane overhead.

I suppose these AP's could have come from some other car on the road; but people generally don't run Access Points in their Car.

Traffic was at a standstill--- if the signal was coming from a nearby house or from a car on our side of the road; I would expect the signal to remain level for a longer period of time.

If the signal was coming from a car on the opposite side of the road, I would expect the signal quality to rise and fall quickly. In fact, I could detect a number of 'Ad-Hoc' wireless signals from some misconfigured Laptops-- those signals would zoom by pretty quickly (other side of the road), or remain stable (My side of the road).

I never investigated these further, but I always assumed these 'JetBlue####' Access Points were from JetBlue Airplanes, and I was lucky enough to be within line-of-sight of these signals. The airplanes were a few miles above us, which seems pretty distant for a Wifi signal... But still these Access Points had names like 'JetBlue'. What the heck were they?

# of Complaints now vs. later... (1)

mikeasu (1025283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592937)

From TFA...

On March 22, FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said he would recommend ending consideration of lifting the ban on cellphone use aboard planes because a two-year investigation into possible interference with ground towers had proven inconclusive. It also drew more than 8,000 consumer complaints.
Anyone want to guess how many more consumer complaints will be received because of sitting next to someone yapping on their cell loud enough to be heard on the ground for 5 hours straight?

I love it !!! (1)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18592979)

I love it when my government uses my tax dollars to subsidize airlines and then they spend.. WAY to much on an object(I would say investment, but I don't think it is). Maybe they can just lay off some more pilots and raise the rates for everyone else.

they have bigger fish to fry than wi-fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18592989)

US Airlines should begin offering to get your luggage from its origin to the destination before they start worrying about anything else.

The easy way to discourage VOIP (1)

bostonkarl (795447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593041)

Latency. Introduce 750ms or so of latency. Web browsing and emailing unaffected. VOIP really breaks down.
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