WIFI in the Sky

Wi-Fi in the sky
by Rich Lefko

Recently, I was flying home to New England from an Atlanta business trip. While I waited to board the plane, a young women came up to me and asked if I was interested in trying Delta Airlines’s new inflight wi-fi service for free. Naturally, I said yes. She gave me a card with some instructions on it to follow and I boarded the plane. I noticed an “This aircraft is equipped with Wi-Fi” sticker on the outside of the plane as I entered the cabin.

As usual, the stewardesses went through their safety ritual, but added that wi-fi was available after the plane had risen above 10,000 feet. Since I was stuck in the center seat, getting my MacBook out would have been a chore, so I decided to try this out with my iPod Touch, 2nd generation.

After we reached 10,000 feet, I clicked on my Touch and went to the “settings” tab, and turned wifi on. In the “Choose a Network” section, “gogoinflight” appeared. Following the instructions on the card, I clicked on this setting and then launched safari.
This took me to a “join or login” gogo wireless website. In a few minutes, I had set up an account and entered the coupon code (which I will give at the end of this article) which showed a charge of zero. Normally, the fee is $7.95 for the duration of the flight. There are more option if you fly a lot, sign up for the month, the year, etc..

What was it like? I would not say that is was super fast, but the speed was more than acceptable. In no time, I was sending and receiving emails and surfing the web on my Touch.

The fellow sitting on my right was sleeping most of the time, but the gentleman on my left, Reverend David Palmer of the Kenwood Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, was hard at work on a presentation he was delivering in the Boston area. I had remarked that the ability to connect via wifi at 30,000 feet was pretty cool and the pastor asked me if I had really connected? I confirmed that I had and he said he was having a hard time remembering a certain biblical passage for his presentation. I clicked on the google app on my touch and asked him what it was? I typed it in, and in seconds we had found the passage he was trying to remember in 2nd Corinthians 1:20. Very cool. A short time later, the good pastor wanted to know the etymology of the word “Gentile.” The online dictionary gave the reverend exactly what he needed.

I must say, having the ability to send email and surf the web was a great time killer. Before long my flight had arrived in New England and we were coming in for a landing, dropping below the 10,000 FT threshold for connection.

You’ll have to judge yourself if the $7.95 charge is worth it. I think on flights lasting two hours or more, it is a bargain. I really enjoyed the connection.

If you are on any Delta flight that is wifi equipped, try this coupon code “DELTATRYGOGO.”
Click buy after you login and type in the coupon code, then click “update total.” You should see a zero dollar charge. Not clear if this will work on international flights, but what have you got to lose? This code expires 12/31/2009.
If you connect up there, send me an email.

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