I used to enjoy flying. It was a good time to unplug, catch up on some reading, or enjoy bonding time with a pal. I was even one of the few people who liked airplane food, as it used to be delivered, if not piping hot, then at least always with a smile.
Well times have certainly changed.
Over the years, flying has become -- to put it mildly -- less fun. With airlines squeezing more passengers on board, eliminating meals, reducing the number of attendants per flight (rendering them stressed and even quite snippy), I typically find myself desperately wanting to plug into something/anything, just so I can tune out the whole experience.
Flying for business can be doubly awful. Travel is often one of the first budgets to get cut, so most employees never get to see the inside of the first-class or even business-class sections. And more often than not, the miserable experience is compounded by a deadline of some sort.
There's nothing more frustrating than being forced to unplug when all you can think about is if an all-important email might be waiting in your inbox.
So what does this have to do with mobile phones? Well, US Airways is the latest airline to get in-flight Wifi, so next year, many of its smartphone- and computer-equipped passengers will be able to connect for $5.95 to $12.95 (depending on flight length). The airline may not be the first to offer Wifi, and it won't be available on all flights, but nonetheless it's still nice to see an airline attempt to satisfy customer demand.
With buses like Bolt and Mega Bus, Acela trains and airlines offering Wifi, it looks like mobile hotspots are becoming a bona fide trend. I should be thrilled about that -- and I am -- but there's still a nagging concern that's sending a shudder down my spine.
With in-flight internet becoming more widespread, how long will it be before people start taking advantage of VOIP services in the air? With a free or cheap alternative to those ridiculously expensive airphones, does it mean that passenger cabins will be subject to a cacophony of long-distance conversations? Uggggh. It's one of the last places left these days that's guaranteed to be free of phone chatter.
*Sigh* Let that be a warning: Be careful what you wish for.
What do you think? Are you thrilled with the prospect of being able to connect anywhere, or do you believe airplanes should staunchly remain a no-plug zone?