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Airlines to Offer In-Flight Internet Service

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the can't-ever-get-away-from-the-email dept.

Transportation 181

Ponca City, We Love You writes "JetBlue Airways will soon begin testing a free e-mail and instant messaging service on one aircraft, while American Airlines, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines plan to offer a broader Web experience in the coming months, probably priced at about $10 a flight. A recent survey found that 26 percent of leisure travelers would pay $10 for Internet access on a two-to-four-hour flight and 45 percent would pay that amount for a flight longer than four hours. The airlines plans to turn their planes into the equivalent of a wireless hot spot once the aircraft reaches its cruising altitude but service will not be available on takeoff and landing. While the technology could allow travelers to make phone calls over the Internet, most carriers say they have no plans to allow voice communications."

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uh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611199)

scary

No Voice? (3, Insightful)

gambit3 (463693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611205)

"most carriers say they have no plans to allow voice communications."

and how could they limit that? wouldn't it all be packets at that point?

Re:No Voice? (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611309)

They could easily block ports commonly used for VoIP and/or VoIP proxies. In fact, they could make all Internet access go through a proxy server, just like they do in a corporate setting. This is getting to be increasingly common in hotel Internet access.

Re:No Voice? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611539)

Which doesn't necessarily mean anything. Holes can be punched in firewalls. Skype is particularly good at that, for example. I suspect we'll see plenty of VoIP calls being made from aircraft, assuming that latency isn't excessive.

Re:No Voice? (2)

Steeltalon (734391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611771)

For once, I'm going to say that I hope they do block those ports and have flight attendants tell people to stop using voice communication. When I'm stuck in a plane, I don't want to be forced to listen to your phone call.

Re:No Voice? (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612931)

When I'm stuck in a plane, I don't want to be forced to listen to you nag about my phone call.

Get over it, it's someone talking. It's really not gonna bother you that much, you're just being selfish and immature.

Re:No Voice? (2, Interesting)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613615)

likeohmygodnowaydidhereallyjustsaythat?

youve got to be kidding me. there is absolutely no reason i need to hear the person i am wedged next to talking about the CUTEST thing his daugther did the other day. flying is unenjoyable enough without sitting through a conversation with my seat neighbors aunt tillie about the smallest little bullshit details in his life because they are so bored they dont have anything else to do.

even worse would be a teenage girl (or a 30-something who wishes she was a teenage girl) and all the vapid crap they find interesting. im not sure i could turn up the volume enough on whatever it is im trying to distract myself with to drown that out. not to mention the cabin noise which would make them have to yell all the louder.

there isnt a person flying on any flight i would take that is so incredibly important that they cant be cut off for 4 hours. 4 hours! get a grip, be quiet, and stop reclining your seat. thanks.

in summary: it would bother me that much.

Re:No Voice? (1)

kansei (731975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611999)

I can connect to my work phone through a VPN session which was designed to encrypt traffic and prevent the people from snooping on what I'm doing. I have IP Softphone at work and can use it over the VPN. While they can block the run-of-the-mill IP telephony, I'm not sure they could block this. In addition, there are VPN services you can purchase where you the service acts as a portal to the Internet for all of your traffic. This would be another way around blocking the voice traffic.

Unless they completely block all VPN and encrypted traffic.

Re:No Voice? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612119)

As someone else said, they can hear you talking on the phone. And they might very well block VPN traffic, as I'm sure the Internet uplink for the plane is a rather expensive connection.

Re:No Voice? (2, Insightful)

yesteraeon (872571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612105)

Correct me if I'm wrong but one really easy way around this would be an encrypted VPN connection. They could probably block VPN connections. However, I'm betting a lot of the market for such a service would be people staying in touch with their offices. For many of these people, the value of an internet connection that doesn't allow VPN is significantly reduced. And obviously I'm just speculating, but the number of people willing to pay $10 might go down significantly once they know about restrictions such as no VPN and no VOIP.

Re:No Voice? (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611311)

By plugging ports and shaping traffic?

It's likely that they'll do what they can to avoid having someone transmit large amounts of data through a presumably quite expensive link.

Re:No Voice? (2, Funny)

sherms (15634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611543)

"By Plugging in ports", Please for give me, but this makes me have a flashback to Die hard 4. I can see it know, There going to have some of the same actors from that show, make a Die hard 5, where Bruce and that other kid (Hacker from die hard 4) happen to be on the same plane while Terrorists, take control of the plane (Via the on board internet). Making the government think they are going to crash it into some famous location. They still manage to crash and get just cuts and scratches and only a few dead.

Okay, now I've ruined the plot for Die Hard 5.

Sorry.

Well, back to the subject. Are they going to block porn?

Re:No Voice? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611843)

Okay, now I've ruined the plot for Die Hard 5.
I'll submit that, just as for Die Hard 2,3, and 4, the plot likely began in a ruined state.

Re:No Voice? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612007)

Expensive for YOU, not them. If 25% (to use the lower #) of the 350 people on a widebody plane used the service during the flight that would be 80 people times $10, thats $800 revenue PER FLIGHT. That's like selling another two or three tickets. The equipment such as the router and wiring (assuming they won't do wireless) will add weight to the plane increasing fuel costs a few dollars a flight. The cost of the equipment might run an few 1000's but that'll be written off. So there is a LOT of profit to them amd a lot of expense for the user (seeing as Home DSL runs $30-50/month in the USA).

Voice is NOT large amounts of data. It's about 8Kbit/Sec for POTS quality. They may block things like Torrents and on-line games which are the bandwidth hogs. But as someone else says blocking VoIP might actually be a good thing. The passengers won't strangle the guy yelling into his PC mike next to you.

Re:No Voice? (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612199)

Chances are it will be satellite based internet anyway, making it useless for interactive games (you could play a card game or something like that, but FPS/RTS/etc... are right out thanks to the high latency).

I've always wondered just how much money the airlines make from those seatphones. I've never seen anybody use one, ever.

Re:No Voice? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613265)

I wonder how the speed is. I know latencies suck. I had friends who went on cruises and said the Internet speed sucked big time. Almost like dial-up speeds.

Re:No Voice? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612375)

POTS is 56kbit per second (7 bits at 8000 symbols per second), not 8kbit. Standard compression algorithms can cut it to about half that, but not all the way down to 8kbit.

Re:No Voice? (1)

mccabem (44513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613335)

At best you're going to get something like cellphone quality from compression like he mentioned. Full "voice qualty" VoIP is still about 64kb/s.

G.711 [wikipedia.org] is the standard.

Regarding the 8k reference: maybe it was a reference to the 8k sampling rate? That, or G.729 maybe....but again, that's more like cell-phone quality.

Just what I was thinking. (1, Redundant)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611315)


That sounds to me like a recipe for FAIL. I guess they could make the connection high latency and low bandwidth - i.e. crappy.

Why was this modded redundant? (0, Offtopic)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611687)

Sure, it's no +5 post, but it expands slightly on what it's replying to.

Re:No Voice? (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611353)

"most carriers say they have no plans to allow voice communications."

Funny that most airlines have had in-seat phones on planes for over a decade...

Re:No Voice? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611583)

But not on all planes. I've been on three flights recently, a 737, a DC-10 and a 767, none of of which had in-seat phones, at least not in coach. It's possible that first class had them on the 767, but I know that first class did not have them on the 737 (I sat directly behind first class). The DC-10 didn't offer first class seating.

Re:No Voice? (2, Informative)

notthe9 (800486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612043)

The phones seem to be fading away. I think they didn't make money on them.

Re:No Voice? (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611769)

Funny that most airlines have had in-seat phones on planes for over a decade...

Even funnier that these phones are incredibly expensive to use, and the airlines want to prevent people using free VOIP while onboard.

Re:No Voice? (4, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611395)

and how could they limit that?

By telling you "voice communication will not be allowed".

wouldn't it all be packets at that point?

Not at the point where you talk into the microphone. It's pretty easy to detect, and given just how annoying it is to sit next to a person talking into their cell phone ... it wouldn't take long for your seat neighbour would complain to the stewardess.

Re:No Voice? (3, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611753)

Pretty easily: "I'm sorry sir, I'm going to have to ask you to turn that off to avoid disturbing other passengers."

Re:No Voice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21613577)

"Screw You. I PAID to use this service, and I'm going to use it."

Re:No Voice? (1)

billy8988 (1049032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611925)

I think it means that they don't have any plans to let travellers use cell phones.

Re:No Voice? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612135)

While the technology could allow travelers to make phone calls over the Internet, most carriers say they have no plans to allow voice communications."

Please excuse my ignorance but, wouldn't there be a problem of lattency (lag)?

Re:No Voice? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613137)

Maybe they could only allow internet access through the consoles in the back of the seats. With control of the programs on these consoles, they could completely control what kind of services you could access.

Worst nightmare (3, Interesting)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611215)

FTA: "Many travelers find the prospect of phone calls much less palatable than having a seatmate quietly browsing e-mail."

Yes. Imagine sitting in the center seat between two obese passengers talking non-stop about things you don't want to know about.

What would you do?

What could you possibly do at that point?

Re:Worst nightmare (2, Funny)

tknn (675865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611237)

Hope that they smother you to end the pain...

Re:Worst nightmare (4, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611555)

I've always been interested why people have a bigger issue with people talking on the phone than talking to a friend on a plane/train.

Admittedly if it's loud, it's annoying, but what's so different about a phone than a face to face conversation?

Re:Worst nightmare (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611655)

Someone will likely bring out a study that concludes that your brain interprets one-sided conversations differently than if you hear both sides of the conversation.

Personally, I think that some people just wouldn't like the person next to them at all. Cell phone or not.

Re:Worst nightmare (2, Interesting)

frenchbedroom (936100) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612179)

Someone will likely bring out a study that concludes that your brain interprets one-sided conversations differently than if you hear both sides of the conversation.
That, and the fact that phone conversations are extremely phatic [wikipedia.org] by nature. Not only do you get much less than 100% of the information, but most of the babble that's going on isn't information at all, which to you will gradually translate from a mild irritation at such a boring stream of uninteresting yakking, to eventually snatching the annoyer's cellphone, shoving it down his f*ck*n throat, and uppercutting him with superb, glorious, healing might.

Re:Worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21613233)

Such studies have aleady been done and the result is that it is much easier to ignore a conversation between two people where you are hearing both sides than just one side where you end up imagining the responses. It's possible that it's simply that we are much more used to having other people around us talking to each other and, until 10 years ago, no-one had phone conversations in public. We always went to another place to make or receive them so we aren't used to hearing one-sided conversations.

In another ten years perhaps the difference will have disappeared and we'll ignore everyone all the time unless they ring us.

Re:Worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611725)

I've always been interested why people have a bigger issue with people talking on the phone than talking to a friend on a plane/train.

Admittedly if it's loud, it's annoying, but what's so different about a phone than a face to face conversation?
I think you've hit the nail on the head, in that phone conversations are more likely to be loud, since it's harder to judge how loudly you need to speak so that the other person can hear you adequately (as compared to a face-to-face conversation). I'd find it just as annoying if two people were having a loud face-to-face conversation next to me.

Oh, and the kind of person that would subject their fellow passengers to a loud phone conversation is likely to be a complete and utter arsehole anyway, which will make their conversation instantly more annoying.

Re:Worst nightmare (4, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611791)

For the same reason that it's ok to talk to your seatmate but not to your friend sitting three rows away. You talk quietly to someone sitting right next to you, but for some reason many people seem to feel it's necessary to project into the phone inches from their mouth. I think it has something to do with the fact that cel phones, unlike receivers on traditional phones, don't actually reach to your mouth anymore, so people subconciously feel the need to make up for that - plus, of course, if your signal isn't so hot you might actually NEED to speak up. Either way, it's far louder and more annoying.

Re:Worst nightmare (3, Interesting)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612073)

A couple of differences, one being is that during a face to face conversation, you tend to not talk extremely loud. Some phones incorporate a slight "echo" so that you can actually hear yourself talking (much like landlines). Many phones don't, and what ends up happening is people yell into the phone, which is exactly what Alexander Graham Bell discovered when he first invented the thing. Additionally, we perceive face-to-face conversations as normal. Cellphone conversations are just weird to us humans (being a relatively new thing). Also, and perhaps slightly more nosy, people like to listen to other people's conversations, and when you can only hear one half of the conversation, it probably annoys people on some unconscious level. It's just programmed into us that communication exists face-to-face, or at least that's how it primarily has been for eons.

Re:Worst nightmare (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613165)

More than that, conversations in person are naturally regulated by the ambient noise level. (Most easily noticed when someone ignores these queues.) Phone conversations don't provide this same information to both parties, so the volume tends to be less related to ambient noise, and thus often louder.

Re:Worst nightmare (1)

TheHorse13 (908512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612147)

The difference being that you can't hear the entire conversation so you're left irritated when you have to fill in the blanks on your own.

Re:Worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21612153)

Also usually if you are talking to the next person it is likely that the other person will get bored and make you stop at some time. Having a cell phone opens up endless possibility. And very few travel with a companion while very few travel without a phone.

Re:Worst nightmare (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612575)

I've always been interested why people have a bigger issue with people talking on the phone than talking to a friend on a plane/train.

I've always been interested in why people find it ok to fart in the bathroom but not on the couch with your sweetheart?

Admittedly if it's loud, it's annoying, but what's so different about a fart in the bathroom to a face to face fart?

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21613331)

I've never quite figured out why people have such a problem with people on the phone or people talking to a friend.

Sure, I've been on the train a number of times where nearby passengers were talking to each other - very annoying, especially when their conversation shows just how much they are shallow bubble-headed idiots. Or, they may talk on a cellphone. However, I don't see why my desire to have a quiet ride should trump their desire to talk. It's annoying, but you put up with it for two hours, and move on with your life.

I think it's that people generally feel that they have the right to have things _their_ way, rather than give a little. And that's why I don't have a lot of respect for people objecting to cellphones or conversation on trains or airplanes.

Re:Worst nightmare (1)

lhorn (528432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611737)

Offer to Swap seat
if declined - join in and try to derail the conversation into a discussion of the relative nutritinal content of cats and dogs
- repeat as(s) necessary.

Re:Worst nightmare (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611949)

Put one some headphones and play a video on my laptop, like this one [The Two Ronnies - crossed lines [youtube.com] , or just listen to other music.

Had me until this line... (4, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611245)

"I think 2008 is the year when we will finally start to see in-flight Internet access become available..."

Note to everyone, declaring this "the year of implementation x of tech y" automatically sets that tech back indefinitely. This is how this will work out now. The service will be used for years by technically elite fliers who rave over its superior stability when compared to ground based wi-fi. Then several years down the road a group with the motto "airline wifi for humans" will again attempt to make the year of "in-flight internet access", only to realize that the people are still reluctant to adopt it. It's a proven paradigm.

So remember, if you are passionate about a technology, do not declare this "the year of it," as you are only hurting it.

Re:Had me until this line... (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611367)

So remember, if you are passionate about a technology, do not declare this "the year of it," as you are only hurting it.
Well, in that case I declare that 2008 will be the year of Vista on the desktop!

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611679)

So remember, if you are passionate about a technology, do not declare this "the year of it," as you are only hurting it.
Well, in that case I declare that 2008 will be the year of Vista on the desktop!
The emphasised bit is important ;-)

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612759)

Passionate doesn't necessarily mean you like it. You can passionately hate Vista, too.

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611435)

How is it hurting it? You're just making people aware of it, although they might come away a little disappointed the first time when comparing reality to the hype.

But that may not be a bad thing to bring people in before it's truly ready. I was first introduced to Linux back 10 years ago, and I went away thinking it was not ready for regular desktop use for a normal person. But that first version was my baseline, and as the years went by, I came away more and more impressed with what the Linux communities and distros accomplished. Had I waited till later, my expectations would have shifted according to what I would have been familiar with -- Windows and Os X -- and those expectations would have been harder for the Linux community to fill (some programs for instance) and I would have been blind to other positives of Linux that Mac/Windows don't have and blinded to their failings as well because my pet feature that I think I couldn't possibily live without wasn't there and don't want to waste time finding another work-around.

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611493)

Well I see you got my allusion to "the year of linux on the desktop." You see the problem is not that I think calling this "the year of something," instead it's the fact that people keep taking my jokes seriously (see my sig for proof). Apparently what I thought was an absurd allegory for the trials of linux was actually an insightful and interesting commentary on marketing technology. Moderation confuses me more often than not now.

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611735)

But that may not be a bad thing to bring people in before it's truly ready.
We've been told that cellphones and notebooks with wireless internet access may have deadly interference with the airplane's avionics and communications systems. What has changed? Inquiring minds want to know!

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611993)

What has changed? Inquiring minds want to know

Maybe because the aircraft and the associated internal network is designed for it at the start.

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612379)

I know reading TFA isn't fashionable, but I hate it when TFA is a privacy-disabled site. Grumble, grumble.

Maybe because the aircraft and the associated internal network is designed for it at the start.
Think, think, how can I see TFA without a real login ...

Since LiveTV's proprietary network
Oh good! That's the same as the Diebold voting machines proprietary software making their vote count secure, right?

... uses a spectrum licensed from the Federal Communications Commission that was once reserved for seat-back phones, it does not interfere with cellphone service on the ground. But the hand-off process does create the potential for the airborne equivalent of a dropped call -- a problem that occurred during the test on Wednesday.

It is also one of the reasons JetBlue is not charging passengers to log on.

"Why charge for something that doesn't work very well yet?"
Oopsy! There go your chances for ever working at Microsoft.

I do see that they're only talking about US-domestic routes and I avoid those like the plague. Never mind. My cell here in gitmo is a lot more comfortable, but here comes the nice man who is going to take me swimming, got to go!

Re:Had me until this line... (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612087)

What has changed? Inquiring minds want to know!
They weren't making money off of it before.

Re:Had me until this line... (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613547)

"I think 2008 is the year when we will finally start to see in-flight Internet access become available..."

Note to everyone, declaring this "the year of implementation x of tech y" automatically sets that tech back indefinitely.

But it's already been available [wikipedia.org] . I used it on a transatlantic Lufthansa flight in 2006 just before Boeing shut it down. Tunneled into my company's LAN via VPN and printed some stuff onto an office printer from the middle of the Atlantic at 36,000 feet, just so I could say I've done it. ;) The real drawback I saw was that not every seat has power ports, and laptop battery life is typically much shorter than a trans-oceanic flight duration.

No voice calls? (0)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611297)

Seems a little arbitrary...

Re:No voice calls? (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611383)

I wouldn't like to either talk to someone on the phone or have to listen to other people's conversations while on a plane.

YMMV.

Re:No voice calls? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611839)

I would prefer more leg room.

offtopic (3, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611305)

Unrelated to in-flight internet service, but has anyone ever tried playing a flight simulator on a laptop while on a plane? I'd love to see how quickly you could get yourself kicked off by doing that. : p

Re:offtopic (2, Funny)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611835)

Bonus fun if you're middle-eastern-looking and keep flying your plane into buildings :-)

w00t (2, Funny)

ByKai (1199767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611355)

w00t a flying cyber cafe! Now we just need some starcraft CDs and a bunch of angry koreans to scream at each other

Re:w00t (1)

ilovecheese (301274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611497)

Myself, I'd rather see an in-flight torrent tracker with plenty of seeds. ;)

Don't hold your breath (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611361)

Yes, we'll see the first planes with this service in 2008. On lines that are heavily contested and where competition is high, so passengers will choose carrier X over Y because they can get internet access. Don't count on it being available on domestic flights where only one or two lines have already split the market up between them, or on lines that are overbooked anyway.

Not to mention that the first planes to be fitted with this will take off in 2008 (allegedly). That doesn't mean that every plane there is will suddenly become equipped with it. Usually, such things take a long, long time.

Re:Don't hold your breath (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611433)

Correct. And given that most of us choose flights that are not nonstop (i.e., flights with layovers) due to their cost usually being much lower than nonstop flights (though this is not always the case), you probably won't wind up on too many domestic flights that are more than 4 hours anyway. So unless you travel overseas, you're probably not likely to see this very much in 2008.

Re:Don't hold your breath (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611693)

And of course it will only work if the TSA doesn't smash your laptop before you get on. Their attitude is "(crash) Oops! Sorry! Not our problem!"

Prices have gone way up, service is much worse. There are only nonstop flights to hubs these days. If you don't live or work near a hub, too bad.

Very well (2, Interesting)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611391)

It would be nice for long courses. But I do not believe not many people will really be using it except netmaniacs that spend 12+hour daily on the net (like me) or business people who need to be constanly online (oh... like me too). Other people will rather take a nap and not even bother turning the laptop on.

What about connection speeds? Data limits? Which satellites? Connection stability?

The Internet is the second most important feature. (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611397)

...but I need a power source. I usually travel with my "lite" laptop, and a spare battery, but even that's not always enough. Some of my flights (ORD->BOM) last nearly 20 hours (with 1 stop, where I could theoretically recharge somewhere).

I don't mind paying upwards of $40 for a flight for web access, actually, but I'd assume few others would. Speed/latency isn't an issue, but I do wonder how well it would work over large bodies of water.

Re:The Internet is the second most important featu (2, Informative)

ZeLonewolf (197271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611465)

Some planes do have in-seat power. The Airbus A330-300 which I've flown to Europe many many times has in-seat power in coach. In fact, Lufthansa (Germany's national airline) had free wifi last year on their transatlantic Boeing jets. Not sure what happened to that service, but it was great...only problem was THOSE jets didn't have power. Just bring extra batteries for your laptop I suppose :)

Re:The Internet is the second most important featu (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611527)

If you're willing to pay 40 bucks a flight for simple internet access you'd think you'd be willing to spend a bit more and buy an extra battery for the laptop.

Re:The Internet is the second most important featu (1)

elinenbe (25195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611605)

Almost all seats now include either a plane power adapter or a standard plug. If you will pay $40/flight, you can surely buy an air adapter.

Re:The Internet is the second most important featu (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612009)

I know this won't help you in your case, but American Airlines MD-80's (a fairly old aircraft) have power adapters in coach under the seats. When you book your next flight, check out Seat Guru [seatguru.com] and it will tell you if a particular aircraft has power adapters.

Re:The Internet is the second most important featu (1)

Isao (153092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612679)

It works great over water. I used Boeing's Connexion service in ANA to and from Tokyo before the plug was pulled last December. A Skype test call was a little "chunky", but web, POP, and SSH sessions were OK.

Two things... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611399)

1) This has been tried before - Lufthansa? United? Wasn't popular.

2) If they don't provide power plugs at the seats, it'll be a 1-2 hour internet experience before the blasted battery drains...

Note: American Airlines, to its credit, provides power to about half the seats in coach.

Note to self: sell tickets when the first networked FPS game occurs and the staff, well, melts down :-)

Re:Two things... (2, Informative)

squidguy (846256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612115)

) This has been tried before - Lufthansa? United? Wasn't popular.
Actually, it was very popular on Lufthansa. The problem was that Boeing (owned Connexion) wasn't seeing much ROI across all the airlines and couldn't keep the service running for its limited deployment throughout the carriers. US airlines couldn't afford to install it, generally.

Re:Two things... (1)

sricetx (806767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612705)

The Lufthansa service wasn't bad. I tried it right before the decommissioned it (they gave it away for free during the final weeks of the service. While I wouldn't pay my own money for it (my company's is another story) it was nice.


Another anecdote, relevant to the discussion about voice calls over the service--
The guy seated next to me was making calls over Skype with it, and
1) Lufthansa's internet service seemed to work fine for voice communications
2) It wasn't annoying at all to me to be sitting next to someone talking on the phone. I think the entire reaction of "horrors! people will be able to make calls on the plane!" are pretty overblown.

I guess we're all in agreement that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611401)

everybody can have their internets except the pilots, of course

Awesome (1)

TheDrewbert (914334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611417)

This would be great for those long trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights where a Crackberry addict like myself goes into withdraw and the iPod battery finally dies.

...not during takeoff and landing, but... (2, Insightful)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611501)

...what about during waiting time on the ground at the gate after the door is shut or sitting on the taxiway? If not then, then they're missing a big opportunity to pacify some agitated customers.

Re:...not during takeoff and landing, but... (1)

Kyokushi (1164377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613651)

the delay there is not really that long. though I don't live in the USA, so it might be different there.

This is nice, but... (1)

JKSN17 (956518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611509)

This is a nice idea, and I sincerely hope it's implemented at some point in the near future. I imagine they will use satalite connections to provide the internet, similar to the way that XM Radio is available on AirTran Flights. But what about power? Being able to charge my battery in flight perhaps off a onboard generator would make me happy to pay that $10 fee plus a little more for the service. Especially if it means I can get to my meeting/conference, which a mostly charged battery.

I keep hearing this (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611545)

I keep hearing say this is coming, but when is someone actually going to go through with actually doing it?

Hijackers (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611579)

Think about much more quiet and easier this will make Hijacking. The terrorists can boot up and IM each of the pasengers... nice and quiet like... "Yea ur being hijacked lol dun move kk?" Then they can hack into the planes controls without having to go through the old and tiresome banging-on-the-cockpit-door-with-a-gun routine...

Of course this all hinges on whether or not they have valid Vista regkeys.

Hijackers? Vista will keep us safe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611751)

Between the DRM, performance issues, and lack of drivers, the terrorists will be frustrated indeed!

This internet will also be for porn (2, Funny)

finlandia1869 (1001985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611669)

Trekkie Monster was right! Can't wait for the first time a flight attendant has to ask a customer to stop surfing for porn.

Likely very limited bandwidth (1)

rickkas7 (983760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611701)

Unless JetBlue/LiveTV acquired another license, they're seriously bandwidth limited. In 2006 they got a license [wikipedia.org] to use a 1 MHz slice in the 841 to 851 MHz spectruum. Increasing the number of ground stations and using directional antennas helps, but we're definitely not talking anywhere near broadband speeds if they're still using that spectrum (which used to be used by GTE Airfone).

Flying into the US (5, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611783)

"We are experiencing a little RIAA turbulence and so the Captain has turned on the no downloading sign. Please refrain from downloading anything until the airplane has come to a complete stop and you are safely within the terminal building."

Nice, but my laptop battery doesn't last that long (1)

joshuao3 (776721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611855)

I get maybe 1hr15mins out of my laptop's battery. This is only a marginally useful development, unless they also provide a power outlet. I've seen power on a few planes, but a vast majority are still missing this key component.

I don't get it (2, Insightful)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611959)

We've been told that notebook computers with wireless internet and cellphones interfere with the avionics and are dangerous and must be kept off the entire flight. Now internet access from planes is O.K. What has changed?

Just asking.

-sb (dreading the horribly long flight across the Pacific he faces to go home for Christmas)

Re:I don't get it (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612807)

The cellphones interfere with the towers on the ground.

Re:I don't get it (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613101)

There aren't very many towers in the Pacific Ocean and the passage over Guam and Hawaii doesn't seem to me to be a real problem.

No room anyway (2, Insightful)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612177)

Call me when there's even enough room to open my laptop to a viewable angle.

Re:No room anyway (1)

hokiehead (1088307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612715)

you do on JetBlue ("most legroom in coach"). I've flown on their Airbus 320s numerous time using several different laptops with no problem.

Re:No room anyway (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613109)

That would be nice, but JetBlue doesn't serve my local airport.

You f4il i7. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21612313)

networking test. maagot, vomit, shit your own towel in that should be But many find it Where it belongs, You're told. It's 2the facts and are tied up in

Nice about-face (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612881)

So is this the end of the flight attendent shpeal that goes something like this:

"OMG WTF!? Turn off all your wireless devices or we'll all die!"

Voice Calls? (1)

Marin3 (988561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613183)

While the technology could allow travelers to make phone calls over the Internet, most carriers say they have no plans to allow voice communications.
How come this technology is going to allow voice calls when passengers were able to call perfectly during 9/11 "hijacks"?
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