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Putting Airplane Wi-Fi to the Test

Putting Airplane Wi-Fi to the Test

What does a busy person do when they’re on a flight? You have limited options, it’s really the last frontier where you can’t be bothered with emails, IMs, blogging, and the Internet. But not for long. As I’ve blogged about in the past, JetBlue is leading a charge to enable their passengers to have some access to such communication. For the Techland blog, Michael Lev-Ram reviews the test flight this week for JetBlue’s new endeavor:

Once the airplane reached an altitude of 10,000 feet, we were allowed to turn on our laptops and Wi-Fi enabled Blackberry smartphones and connect. It took me several tries, but a few minutes later I was able to log on to the simplified Yahoo Mail interface on my browser. After that, it was easy to send and receive e-mails.

The biggest drawback is that the service only lets passengers access Yahoo’s (YHOO) e-mail and instant messaging. Still, it’s hard to complain about a free service and many passengers aboard the flight tested the Internet service with their laptops or Blackberries.

David Kubersky, a tech consultant from New Jersey who flies JetBlue regularly to the San Francisco Bay Area, said the company’s Internet service was a little bit slow but most of his e-mails went through easily.

“Usually this is my time to catch up on TV,” said Kubersky, pointing at the small seatback screen in front of him. “But it’s nice to be able to have some form of communication back to the ground.”

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I kinda like being out-of-touch for a few hours. I like being able to watch some TV, or read a book/magazine, listen to my iPod, or whatever. This could create either much more productivity, or many more distractions.

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