Gogo Inflight – Internet at 35,000 Feet. Yes, it works. Well.

On my last trip, I was delighted to see that American Airlines had added Gogo Inflight Internet on my plane. I’ve seen the occasional story about it, being the traveling dweeb that I am, but this was the first direct encounter. The flight attendant gave me a discount coupon!

Wheels up. Laptop out. Turn on the wireless (a little thrill, that. Naughty.) Start browser – yes! There it is. Is it worth ten bucks for 5 hours of productivity? Hmmm…I had a few dozen emails in the inbox, a blog post to finish – and tweeple to keep in touch with. Yes, let’s give it a try.

Wow! This is good – as fast as in a hotel room. Sign up, credit card number. And…we’re off! I happily worked for several hours and had one or two momentary losses, a page that didn’t load the first time, but hitting refresh always fixed it. And happily had a productive session. Did some research. Caught up on email. Watched a little baseball! (mlb.com rocks. Check out Gameday 3D.)

Then I had the inspiration. My seatmate had left for the rest room and all was quiet – what if Skype worked? Now this is not approved behavior, and Gogo is officially blocking it.  Nobody, me included, wants some jerk talking on the phone for 5 hours next to you. But there is another way. One of my buddies was online. I sent an IM via Skype and said: “I’m calling you now. But I won’t use voice – just want the video connection. We’ll type.” And  then “you can talk if you want because I have headphones on and nobody will hear.” The video was fine – as good as in my home office. We got a lot done.

Bottom line? Gogo, I’m a fan. Glad you’re adding yourself to planes at a steady pace.

And for us travelers in the future, I doubt we’ll be able to use Skype. But if we’re all well behaved enough, and they don’t notice, you never know….

Published by Merv Adrian

Independent information technology market analyst and consultant, 40 years of industry experience, covering software in and around the data management space.

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