News and Notes on Monday, March 11th 2013

American Airlines is giving 100,000 AAdvantage miles in a contest on their Facebook page.  They’re promoting the fact that their fleet is mostly outfitted with Gogo wifi, so you also have a chance to win a Gogo pass or 100 miles.  I’ve had a Gogo monthly pass for as long as I can remember and it’s probably one of the most valuable things I travel with.  In-flight wifi is the greatest thing to happen in my travel patterns in the last 5 years.

At the same time, JetBlue is contemplating making wifi free for all passengers.  While they say their chosen technology (Ka band) won’t slow down if more passengers jump on it, I remain a bit skeptical.  I’m not a techno-geek, so could be completely wrong.  But, all forms of connectivity we use now have some sort of limit to capacity, be it the size of the pipe or the cost to provide the service.  Ka band is a huge improvement over the traditional air-to-ground systems used now (the bulk of Gogo is ATG).  But, our behavior as consumers is changing.  I never used to watch video on my phone but I do now and there’s a cost to doing so in large chunks.  Making it free is great, but may ultimately lead to slower speeds for everyone.

Wandering Aramean is making pretty charts again, this time with all the TATL connections that oneworld has.  Cool map.

News

Congress wants to reverse the recent TSA decision to allow small knives onboard planes along with other items like baseball bats and pool cues.  Apparently, my surprise at the knife decision is shared by Congress.  But, instead of shrugging their shoulders like I did, they decided they want to investigate.  I respect John McCain, but I can’t say I agree with him here.  Or the flight attendants who are up in arms about it as well.

 

2 Comments

  1. The Ka band might be faster, but those satellites are in geostationary orbit. At 22,236 miles up, there is going to be quite a delay. At least half a second will be added to each click on the web and voice and online gaming will be hampered.

    1. Charlie, I didn’t think about that, but you bring up a really good point. Though I don’t fly JetBlue often, I’ll be curious to hear feedback from people once they start using it.

      Regards, Edward Pizzarello

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