It’s funny how quickly we become dependant on technology. When was the last time you saw a pay-phone in an airport? We’re so dependent on our cell phones; nobody uses a pay-phone anymore. Unfortunately, with dependence comes complacency (and often a bit of smugness). I see people making calls on their cells and sometimes, if the connection isn’t made immediately, the callers get frustrated and angry. Good grief people, you’re holding a 4 inch device that needs to link up to and through hundreds of repeaters, towers, satellites, etc, to find your destination; give it a minute, will you?
Airlines have begun offering wireless service in flight. This is no small task, and a few bugs are still being worked out so be patient while you use it. My first experience with wireless service on the plane was a bit surreal. There I was, more than 30,000 feet high in a titanium tube, hurling through the air at 562 miles per hour. What was the first website I would access? What profound bit of knowledge could I impart under these circumstances? I regret to say, the first place I went was to check my facebook page… How sad is that?
I find it a bit ironic that as Wireless networks become available in airplanes all over the skies, the networks in the airports are becoming cheaper and more widely spread. Salt
I can hear the questions coming in already. “Can I expense this with my company?” I don’t know, you’ll have to check with your manager. In my situation, it is approved “by discretion only” which means, if it’s an emergency and your manager has pre-approved it, it is expensible. “Can I use my IP Phone on the airplane?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Ethernet based phone service (like Vonage, Skype, or Cisco IP phones) will certainly function while you’re logged into a wireless network and while the convenience may be huge to you, be cognizant of the fact that your airplane neighbor may be trying to sleep or read quietly to themselves. “Is the network open to all types of service?” As far as I could tell, it was. If it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure some bonehead will attempt to browse some pornographic site while in the air. While I may not be in any position to stop you, I can appeal to your role as a member of our civilized world and ask that you not display a bunch of profane or graphic images on a plane full of families. Please assume the airplane is a PG world when it comes to the internet, and the use of sound and images, etc.
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.