I have never really felt that the value proposition of the gogo service was particularly great. The cost of the service is generally high and the service quality has not been spectacular. Still, on my flight home this past Monday I had some work to get done and doing it on the plane would save me a few hours. Plus it was billable time so I could easily justify the cost of the service for the sake of getting the billable revenue. So I gave it a try.
Shortly after departure from LAX I opened up my laptop and signed on. I paid the fee and tried to connect to the services I needed to get the work done. Performance was, sadly, poor. Web pages were timing out and the non-web services I needed to use were barely functional. I loaded up speedtest.net and gave it a go. The numbers weren’t pretty:
I tweeted the results and the gogo twitter account got back to me right away, suggesting that I wait a few minutes and try again. Or I could contact their chat support online. A few minutes later the numbers were no better:
Time to contact support.
I explained my situation and went back and forth on the details with the chat folks. Ultimately, this was the conclusion we came to:
You’re on a busy route; it’s possible there is a large number of users on your flight, which can affect speeds. Unfortunately, we’re not able to ‘fix’ bandwidth issues, as the factors that can cause them – including location relative to our towers and the number of users on your flight – are all outside our control.
Not so helpful, actually.
They offered me a freebie for the next time I need to use the service, which I guess is OK, but given that it barely works on the flights where I’d actually want to use it I’m not so sure what the value is there.
I’m not so surprised by this problem; last time I tried to use it I had similar performance issues. Then I blamed it on the fact that more folks were using it because it was free that day. Apparently that’s not the issue at all. Oh, and it wasn’t just me. Runway Girl was having similar troubles on her westbound flight; we tweeted about it a bit.
In the end the service just doesn’t work for me, at least not well enough that I’m willing to pay for it. So I’ll be saving my money and reading or writing on the planes instead. Probably better for me overall anyways.
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