I finally had my first opportunity to try out an in-flight Internet service this morning on my Delta flight from New York to Tampa. I know that I may be late to the game on this front, but I don’t fly many routes or carriers that have had the service up to this point (mostly American Airlines transcons and now the Delta MD88s) so I was downright giddy when I saw the decal on the fuselage as we came down the jetway this morning.
Yes, I paid the $9.95 for my approximately 1:45 of online time. I still think that the price is too high for the short-haul flights such as this one and I’d like to see something like a monthly pass to make it more affordable for the very frequent traveler.
Plus, the performance seems rather intermittent. Right after takeoff it was fine. Then there was a 15 minute window where speeds were rather awful – <100Kbit, comparable to a 2G cell phone – but now I’m back up to 3G/EvDO speeds (1.8Mbit) and web sites are loading up quite nicely. I’ve even been able to connect to a couple remote desktop connections to do some work on the flight this morning. It wasn’t fast enough that I’d want to work that way all the time, but it was nice to get that task completed during the flight. Nothing like paying for the trip while on the flight.
At this point I’d have to say that there is almost zero chance that I’d pay for it again on a short-haul flight unless I had something truly critical to get done. On a long-haul there is a slightly better chance, but the spotty performance worries me. When it is running at full speed it is really good. But when it is running slowly the frustration factor would make me completely bitter that I spent the money.
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