Not only do I not expect this, I actually dread the time when it is ubiquitous and free. Flying is really a unique experience in that it forces you to sit still, disconnect and entertain yourself for a substantial period. This has a meditative element for me: I have time to not be updated, to gaze, to talk to strangers, to be bored... All the things people used to do in the long long ago. It gives flying a kind of sublime quality because it prepares me mentally for arriving at a completely different place than the one I left. It's not just a continuous Instagram fueled frenzy like any other day. Of course I can choose to not use my phone/internet at any time, but it's so much harder that it loses its entire allure: Instead of just disengaging I'm constantly fighting the urge and telling myself "No!". Once it's available on board I won't be able to resist.
Everyone has different ways to spend their leisure time and that can include connecting. I wouldn’t want to impose my own beliefs on someone else by telling airlines not to give away WiFi.
And if you want to disconnect, there are plenty of ways to do so on the ground. You could go to a nice restaurant and leave your phone in the car. You could take a walk in the park with your phone at home. Or you could just not use Instagram or Facebook.
As it stands, few airlines will just give you WiFi for free anyway, but there have been times when its availability has saved my ass.
The same logic applies to vacations. Someone saying they enjoyed something in a remote location does not mean that is unavailable locally - it's that you discovered it because you were in a different context.
Much like disconnecting while flying.
There is a difference between "disconnect" and disconnect.
Sounds like you're struggling with addiction. Rather severe addiction.
I sorta get why this might work for you. I mean, if you're powerless to control your own behavior, but an external happenstance (like being stuck on a flight) forcibly breaks you away from it, then.. well, I can appreciate why you'd value that.
Still, it's weird to see an internal conflict being used to argue for external policy. By analogy, it'd be like the American government wanting to clamp down on global gasoline production to drive up gasoline prices to push American citizens toward electric vehicles. I mean, if the US were a monolithic entity with a consistent will, then it'd seem like it could just will itself into electric-vehicle adoption without such manipulation, but since the US isn't a monolithic entity with a singular, consistent will, parts of the US (e.g., the government) might take steps to limit the whole (e.g., by reducing its access to cheap gasoline) in order to gain leverage on other parts of the US (e.g., everyday citizens).
Likewise, it sounds like the executive part of your mind wants to limit your environment's Wi-Fi availability to gain leverage on parts of your mind that'd want to binge on Instagram.
Which I comment on just to frame the issue. It's harder to be sure on how to respond. I mean, in principle, I tend to feel that people should have self-control; that, if they want to break away from Instagram, then it's on them to do so rather than relying on environmental factors to forcibly break them away. But I wonder if that's perhaps too simplistic?
It's only free in business on SAS, BA, Air France and many, many others.
This observation is biased by your own opinion. Even without Wi-fi, it is already typical to have inflight digital entertainment... and for most people, long haul flights without distraction can amount to quite the ordeal. And of course, what about the professional, and what about families with kids that are more likely would cause a nuisance without being distracted?
Edit: Oops, you did say economy. Have another passenger take a photo of you typing on a 15 inch laptop in economy to share with your boss. I literally can't do it...the seat in front of me prevents the screen from opening enough to be visible.
I'd have to put the keyboard on my chest, the screen flat on the tray table, and do T-Rex style typing.
I don’t get why people treat flying so ceremoniously; it’s a glorified bus ride. I still got shit to do, and I need access to resources. It is a waste of time to burn 6 hours when flying cross country for nothing. I could get a lot done in that time.
I do work in the air. I've had other passengers complain about my keyboard volume. I also now pace it, police it and don't try to over-do it: The spam-can is not condusive to good work outcomes always. Its ok for reading and reflection, and oftentimes they don't depend on connectivity.
I agree with parent, planes are a great space to focus for me. I don't think there's anywhere else that I've done so much heavy reading. The lack of connection and the white noise of the engines make it the perfect place to zone in (or zone out!).
I've been on two cruises, and in both cases, the WiFi was ridiculously expensive. Like...$1.00/minute expensive.
Which makes no sense that they'd charge per minute and not per megabyte.
Even the WiFi package didn't mean you got unlimited WiFi, it just got you a bulk discount on minutes.
And, the cost for the hardware, FAA certification, and long aircraft downtimes to get it all installed and working was really high. So they have to recoup all that before upgrading.
JetBlue guessed better with the timing, waiting until it was ready, so their experience is better, and pricing isn't terrible as compared to others.
I feel like Southwest made a decent compromise. They went Ku, but use a separate transponder to give away TV and movies at no charge, and a small slice of bandwidth to give iMessage and whatsApp for free. The paid wifi is slow, but comparitively cheap.
The airlines that went with AirCell/GoGo are the worst of the lot. Nothing for free, and the pricing is outrageous given the experience.
Most airlines should be about ready to upgrade all the old stuff soon, so the experience should improve. Low orbit tech would help even more.
One trick that you can do if you want a free hour of GoGo WiFi is try numbers until you land on a T-Mobile subscriber number. Not exactly ethical, but neither is the price they charge for a cross-country flight of WiFi ;-)
What Google hosts work? Would creating a tunnel to something on GCE work?
They aren't making the decision in that manner. They are comparing the economics of keeping the current systems with the economics of new systems, factoring in other information, and choosing the one that is better for them.
(consider the cartoon scenario where the old system cost $10,000, earns $1 of revenue per flight and can be replaced by a system that costs $1000 and earns $10 per flight...)
Most airlines make zero or a very tiny profit on the system. It started as a perk to gain share, then ended up as table stakes.
Aside from the initial costs, all that Ku transponder time is crazy expensive. As is the maintenance for the onboard equipment.
I was also told the FAA at one point demanded all aircraft have the same IP and ASN. I suspect thats magnified bullshit but it is an interesting question, what FAA compliance in data services means for certifying a configuration which has to be mutable as you move, as aircraft change lease, as ISPs come and go.
Then I flew NY to LA on Alaska. Woo WiFi that isn’t free so there’s bandwidth. Boo it’s $40 for the flight.
How’s 20 bucks sound?
Most public Wi-Fi for example blocks video websites such as YouTube and Netflix - if the network is paid you only find out after you've paid with no easy way to get a refund.
I get why they're blocking them, but I feel like a better solution would just be to split the bandwidth evenly and give every user a guaranteed bandwidth on which they're allowed to do anything they want (since it won't disrupt other users as they can't use more than their allocated bandwidth).
The bandwidth should be advertised upfront along with the price so any potential customers know what they're getting and whether it'll work for their application (if it's advertising 1Mbps I know I wouldn't be able to watch Netflix in HD, but it'll still be fine for e-mails and casual browsing).
Authentication should also be improved; currently it's all captive portals which are hacks and inefficient for frequent users. If I'm commuting every day and happy to pay for your Wi-Fi just give me my own WPA2 Enterprise credentials (unique username/password) so my devices can connect seamlessly without any further action on my part.
Google makes it quite easy these days with File Stream, Gmail offline mode, etc. And for multimedia, I just download / sync content I'm likely to watch beforehand on Netflix or Plex.
I have personally experienced very slow and unstable connection even on the premium WiFi plan of American Airlines, Alaska, Etihad and Qatar Airways.
Looks like it’s already being trialed for military C-12 planes.
RB's up there excited, all ready to press the big red button after departing JFK in Air Force One, but can't because it forgot to download the mandatory app before take-off.
The AI is nameless or might be referred to as Omega.