Internet and e-mail lovers rejoice! One of the last areas of “no-service” madness may soon fly away into the night.
Two domestic airlines — Delta and American — have begun to offer Wi-Fi computer access on flights. Currently, the access is being allowed on an experimental basis, but with both airlines seeing the move as a potential revenue generator (they charge $10 for flights that are shorter than three hours), Wi-Fi will most likely grow in availability.
There are some great benefits to having Wi-Fi access on planes. Business travelers can get much needed work done on the way to meetings, increasing productivity. And those that easily get bored during air travel can check their e-mail and Facebook or simply surf the ’Net. We certainly see this as a potential huge profit center for airlines.
Of course, for others, this move could be a nightmare. Already crowded planes could be even more uncomfortable when the person next to you fumbles around with a laptop (of course, with so many people watching DVDs on planes now, that already happens quite often). And without a mandatory headphone rule on planes, the noise levels could get maddening. Without some kind of rule, we certainly could see an anti-yakker mutiny coming.
That is a concern, too, for the Association of Flight Attendants, whose members have already voiced skepticism about the idea, fearing they will be asked to become laptop cops. But managed well, that really shouldn’t be a problem.
Let’s face it, there isn’t much to do during a three-hour or more flight. Some people take naps, others thumb through newspapers or magazines. There are card players and those that work crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Wi-Fi access will simply give flyers one more option.
Of course, people could always read a book. They still make those, you know.
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