So I board the plane on a trip from Orlando (MCO) to Long Island (ISP) en route to Mike Filsaime’s office, preparing for takeoff I put my seat in the upright position, stow my carry-on beneath the seat in front of me and as I put up the tray table I see a sign that reads “Wi-Fi Equipped!” … What??? Can this really be??? I couldn’t believe my eyes and I thought I was being “punked” (Thats candid camera for the Brits LOL) so I played it cool and called over the flight attendeant to ask “Is this for real?” She assured me that it was and that they’re beta testing the system on 4 planes and I was fortunate enough to be on one of them!
Here’s the real kicker, folks. The service will be free while it’s being tested. When the service is out of beta, CEO John Guidon says it will cost less than $10/day. And Row 44, the satellite operator based in Westlake Village, CA, says that low price is possible.
Satellite-based service means it’ll work over water unlike Aircell’s service that is limited to over ground use. But without a hands-on test, we won’t know for sure how well this satellite-based service works compared to ground-to-air.
I’m sure SWA will have some pretty strict security measures in place like firewalls, site restrictions bla bla bla 🙁 But I guess it’s not a bad idea. I mean do you want the old guy next to you surfing porn while you try to work an a spreadsheet for Mike Filsaime? Hmmm… Actually the Southwest Airlines flight attendant did say that the Wi-Fi service is restricted to lap tops use only and not available for cell phones. She also said that voice calls are eventually going to be prohibited for passenger privacy reasons. Baah Humbug! I’m sure there’ll be lots more restrictions once the FCC gets ahold of this. But can you imagine a trip to Austrailia with internet access? This sure is going to make the flight time fly by (no pun intended).
Hats off to Southwest Airlines for being one of the first to introduce in flight Wi-Fi Internet access to sky travel. But this still doesn’t make up for they’re “Run, Fight, Trample Unassigned Seating Policy!”