Airlines are not getting the results they hoped for with on-board Wi-Fi, Scott McCartney reports in the Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat column.
Unlike bus companies, which are offering free Wi-Fi as a competitive incentive, airlines are charging. And apparently many passengers don’t want to pay.
I used airline Wi-Fi for the first time recently, on a Delta transcontinental flight. It was actually pretty good, and was even able to stream video a bit. (Had more people been competing for bandwidth, that might not have been possible, though.) I wouldn’t have bothered at the usual price of $12.95, but it was discounted to $5.95, so I bit.
One problem, according to commenters on the Journal column, is that cramped coach class seating barely provides room to open a laptop. I use a tiny netbook when I travel, so that problem is solved. (I think there might even be room for a netbook in United’s non-economy-plus knee-crusher seats!)
But, overall, the prices may indeed be too high for most leisure travelers who are not Internet-addicted bloggers.