Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy, Even When Sitting in a Chair in the Sky with Internet



According to tech writer Dan Frommer (via The Economist and Matt Yglesias), in-flight Internet access through Gogo is apparently not very popular with air travelers, and only about 4% of passengers on flights offering Gogo's Wi-Fi actually pay for online access.  The writer for The Economist claims that Gogo's internet connections are slow and unreliable.

I'm proud to be part of "the 4%" because I've purchased Gogo's online access on every Delta flight I've taken in the last two years, and have found the connection speeds to be fast and reliable for email, blogging and Internet browsing (not sure about movies or YouTube).  The connection fees seems pretty reasonable to me.  For example, you can purchase advance access for $4.95 for flights up to 1.5 hours, and there is usually an in-flight, 15-minute option for only $1.95 if you just want to do a quick check for email.

In the clip above, Louis C.K. discusses in-flight internet access starting at about 3:30 and points outs that "we live in an amazing, amazing world, and it's being wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots," maybe like The Economist writer above who is "flying through the air sitting in chair" to quote Louis C.K., and "experiencing the miracle of human flight" and at the same time getting access to the Internet, and then complaining about an occasional slow connection (which has not been my experience).  "Like how quickly the world owes him something (a fast internet connection) that didn't even exist a few years ago...."

45 Comments:

At 1/03/2012 9:54 PM, Blogger The King said...

I used GoGo from JFK to LVS & found its responsiveness to be more than adequate for eMail & presentation upload/download. A bit on the costly side, but came through nicely!

 
At 1/03/2012 10:08 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

The squeal of thwarted entitlement, from the 1 per centers to subsidized farmers, to retired US military and the unemployed getting 99 weeks of dole---now add on tech geeks in the sky.

And those airline seats are too narrow also.

 
At 1/03/2012 10:21 PM, Blogger BBL Jr said...

Thanks for reminding me of the Louis CK clip. I t is so funny and so true.

 
At 1/04/2012 12:17 AM, Blogger Don Culo said...

I would rather have more leg room that a blazing fast Internet connection on my flight.

I can barley fit a small book on the fold down tray, forget trying to use my laptop with a 17" screen.

When the person in the seat in front of me can recline his seat without putting the back of seat on my lap or face, I'll say flying is amazing.

And I am only 5' 9" tall.

 
At 1/04/2012 12:46 AM, Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Only fly on trips of more than 1,500 miles one way. Too much hassle. Rather take my time and eat what I want, when I want and relax along the way. Internet? 3G iPhone and iPad2 with 3G good enough. Of course, being retired has its benefits.

 
At 1/04/2012 1:36 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Louis CK, the comedian in the video, likes the internet so much that he's now selling his latest comedy special online for $5. He's made more than a million dollars off of it in just two weeks, far more than he's made off any other comedy special DVD he's ever done, plus it has no DRM. I bought it a couple weeks ago, though haven't gotten around to watching much yet. I like his FX TV show Lucky Louie, which I've been stealing through torrents, so I figured I owed him and bought this special. These kinds of paid experiments, whether by Louis CK or Beck's GBTV, are what is going to make online content take off and kill off the mainstream media in the coming years. Good riddance! :)

 
At 1/04/2012 2:04 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Whoops, the name of his FX TV show is Louie, Lucky Louie was his short-lived HBO show that I only saw a bit of. Looks like Louie is available for free from the FX website, I highly recommend this Iraq episode from Season 2, which is a mix of comedy and almost a documentary recreation of his experiences with USO entertaining the troops in Iraq.

 
At 1/04/2012 6:28 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

airplanes are like cattle-cars now days...

you are stuffed in a 3-fer seat and are effectively trapped in the guy on the aisle seat gets something to eat or read or computer on the tray and that's BEFORE the guy in front of him lowers his seat.

I love the way that folks turn up their noses as ground-based transit that is for "losers" but gladly hop on the air-based equivalent of it and pay through the noise not only in money but inconvenience for the "privilege" and we even turn our noses up at Amtrak even when it's faster and cheaper than the door-to-door TSA-spiced horror of air travel.

Air wi-fi is basically too expensive and many people just wait until they can get free or cheap Wi-Fi on the ground.

I imagine the folks in first-class don't have a problem with the cost or perhaps it's "free" for them since they usually pay 3-4 times as much for the "pleasure" as those of us that can only afford the cattle-car seating.

 
At 1/04/2012 7:47 AM, OpenID moneyjihad said...

"airplanes are like cattle-cars now days... "

Larry, have you ever been a passenger in a cattle car? The experiences are NOT similar.

 
At 1/04/2012 8:29 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: cattle car

a figure of speech... for sure

but flying now days is not fun unless you are in first class.

the whole experience "sucks" to the point where I fly ONLY when I have zero other options.

 
At 1/04/2012 9:24 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Gee! I don't who's funnier, that Louie guy or this clown...

 
At 1/04/2012 9:46 AM, Blogger Sean said...

I like the quote: "Everything is amazing and Nobody's Happy".
Sounds like a problem in perspective and attitude.

 
At 1/04/2012 10:35 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

or... "I'm happy so you have to be happy also"....

;-)

 
At 1/04/2012 12:18 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Sprewell,

I bought that special a couple wks ago when he uploaded it, it's great. Louis CK is my favorite comedian.

 
At 1/04/2012 12:24 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

for those complaining about seat size (and i absolutely agree that basic coach is intolerable) you do realize that there are options on that, right?

most airlines will let you buy coach seats with extra legroom. you will, of course, pay for this, but what do you expect? if that's insufficient, there is always business and first class.

you can argue that such seats cost more than you want to pay, but that's what it costs to provide such service. coach seats are cheap because that's what's demanded. airlines that tried to keep prices higher and have fewer seats were unable to compete.

you want a kia, you pay kia prices. you want a cadillac, well, that costs more.

personally, i'd never fly coach on a flight of more than about an hour. i'm happy to spend the money and not be crammed.

but comments like this: "When the person in the seat in front of me can recline his seat without putting the back of seat on my lap or face, I'll say flying is amazing." seem to totally miss the point. that's available right now on virtually every plane. has been for ages. it's called "first class". seems to me what you are really upset about is paying for it.

 
At 1/04/2012 1:10 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I have no problem in coach, any trip longer than 3 hours and I pop a couple xanax at boarding and go to sleep. It's out of your system by the time you leave the airport (but I'd make sure you had someone with you the first time you try it).

My only complaint is the poor on-time record. I'd rather see fewer flight options and more accuracy. Counting on the airline to land at 5:00 for a 7:00 dinner has gotten to be to unreliable to do.

 
At 1/04/2012 1:30 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

"Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy"

My dad is a civil engineer and I've seen many houses, including houses of other civil engineers, friends I went to school with, their parents houses, etc., e.g. in Boulder Colorado, Bellevue Washington, Irvine California, etc.

Tens of millions of Americans live in very nice houses (bigger, better, and newer houses, with big lots, in nice neigborhoods, with impressive shopping malls, and even excellent public schools).

There's been an explosion of new neighborhoods in America within a short driving time of major cities or towns.

 
At 1/04/2012 2:06 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Haha, juandos, Specter was actually pretty funny. :)

Mike, it would be pretty easy to track the departure times of most flights and whether they matched the posted times, using sites like flightaware.com to compile the average time of delay in take off, average delay in flight length, etc. Just like smartphone shoppers are now checking prices online when they go into a physical store, I think all kinds of data like this will soon be available to shoppers to help them decide on what their purchase, for everything from pillows to flights.

 
At 1/04/2012 2:39 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

The way airlines have (mis)-treated the coach class is a textbook example of how quality and service have declined due to cheapness.


coach seats are cheap because that's what's demanded.

The bad service and low quality are not. But don't let that get in the way of your apology for the airlines.

First class is what coach was before deregulation. How about making coach a bit more bearable instead of just saying what boils down to "pay a ton for first class or STFU"? It is not wrong to ask that economy/coach/cattle class not simply be a "be grateful you're allowed to fly" level of service.

I'd bet that if first class had the same complaints, your argument would be "pay a king's ransom for time on a private jet or STFU".

 
At 1/04/2012 2:49 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


When the person in the seat in front of me can recline his seat without putting the back of seat on my lap or face, I'll say flying is amazing.

That is a point that is lost on the airlines. The only way you can really sleep in coach is being awake enough for making the flight.


we live in an amazing, amazing world, and it's being wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots

That's quite arrogant of him to say that. Not all are able to experience the world with the same greatness, much less commercial or private flight.

 
At 1/04/2012 2:52 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Somebody must be buying those terrible coach seats. I don't mind them too much except for the unexpected seat reclining in front of me. I like to know where my "territory" starts and ends without suprises.

 
At 1/04/2012 4:09 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: coach. It USED TO BE not as crowded ...not as good as business or first class but not as crowded as now.

business class nowdays is about what coach was a few years back, right?

isn't this like keeping the price of the cereal box the same but taking away 2ozs?

also ironic: people complain about the TSA and unions but the pilots themselves are also union, right?

 
At 1/04/2012 4:18 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Somebody must be buying those terrible coach seats.

That doesnt nullify the complaints coming from the people about service and seat length.

 
At 1/04/2012 4:40 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I paid $400 (2011 CPI = $1600) for a flight to Florida in the 1970s (not first class) and $99 last winter. Tighter? Yep. But I liked that new price!

 
At 1/04/2012 4:49 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Larry G and Sethstorm,

On my flights lately, coach has been full; first class has had empty seats. There's a big difference between complaining with your dollars and bitching but still taking it.

If first class starts filling up regularly, I think the airlines will pull some coach seats out. I would.

 
At 1/04/2012 4:49 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: $99 .. hmm.. been looking at flights lately.. and I don't see many $99 deals any more.. most look like 300-400.. what goes around comes around?

 
At 1/04/2012 4:52 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" If first class starts filling up regularly, I think the airlines will pull some coach seats out. I would"

most every flight I ever took had empty first class seats.. and often on full flights where they offered vouchers to clear the over-booking but as far as I now they never offered the first class seats to the over-booked.

At some point - you'd think they open those seats to bids... from those with vouchers, eh?

maybe that happens.. been a couple years since I last flew.

 
At 1/04/2012 5:23 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I can fly from Flint, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia on AirTran for $89and Flint to Fort Meyers, Florida for $129 right now (one way/coach).

 
At 1/04/2012 5:27 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Airlines use very sophisticated computer software pricing discrimination based on non-transparency. The only reason to let a seat go empty in first class is if it would create more empty first class seats in the future.

 
At 1/04/2012 5:27 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/04/2012 5:29 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

washington to Jacksonville - 218
washington to Tallahassee - 418

 
At 1/04/2012 5:53 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


On my flights lately, coach has been full; first class has had empty seats.

That's when I opt for the upgrade. Not always available, but if it is there, I do take it at checkin. No bids needed, just good seats at predictable prices.

That, and it doesnt help that most flights out of my home airport(DAY) are regional jets to larger airports. In that case, first class does not exist.

The nearest other airports are at least 70-110 miles away.



There's a big difference between complaining with your dollars and bitching but still taking it.

Familiarize yourself with the concept of a Morton's Fork. The better choice wont be offered, just a lot of equally bad ones.

 
At 1/04/2012 6:24 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I don't see the choices as being equal at all: drive/rent a car, ride a bus, ride a train, book flight ahead coach, book flight head business, book flight ahead first class, fly at last minute coach, fly at last minute business, fly at last minute first class, fly standby.

I see prior planning and various easy opportunity cost comparisons galore.

 
At 1/04/2012 6:33 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Larry G.

I found Washington to Jacksonville Florida for $272 ROUND TRIP 1/10/2012 to 1/17/2012.

 
At 1/04/2012 6:36 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

still almost 3 times $99, eh?

that's a good chunk of money for a cramped sardine seat IMHO.

but you are correct about "choices" such as they are.

the First Class for that run is about $900 for a seat about equivalent to what you'd have in your own car or Amtrak..or Greyhound, eh?

by the time you add in your time enroute... arrive ahead of departure.. play patti-cakes with the TSA... long-term parking..rental car.. etc...

it's a royal pain in the back end both the physical and fiscal.

 
At 1/04/2012 7:03 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"still almost 3 times $99, eh?"

No, the $99 was one way and the $272 was round trip. That would be about $200 compared to $272.

Maybe the sardines are bigger today? I'll still take 2012 over the 1970s for traveling options.

 
At 1/05/2012 2:41 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


drive/rent a car, ride a bus, ride a train

If you're already looking at flying, these are not like alternatives.


book flight ahead coach, book flight head business, book flight ahead first class

fly at last minute coach, fly at last minute business, fly at last minute first class,

fly standby

All the same choice.

You're trying to

 
At 1/05/2012 6:31 AM, Blogger juandos said...

sethstorm says: "The way airlines have (mis)-treated the coach class is a textbook example of how quality and service have declined due to cheapness"...

Well you're not alone in that feeling sethstorm...

What I can't get my head around is why people keep going back for a flogging...

This is especially true after most carriers started charging a luggage fee...

People dumb enough to put up with the crap airlines lay on them now a days deserving the hosing they get from the airlines...

 
At 1/05/2012 7:00 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Different decisions to reach the same outcome, so not the same choice at all. You almost always have alternative choices including the "do nothing" choice of staying at home.

More choices make it better for customers at the expense of businesses that cannot produce what the customers demand. If airline customers are not empowered today, why do so many airlines go bankrupt now?

 
At 1/05/2012 7:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"If airline customers are not empowered today, why do so many airlines go bankrupt now?"...

Well Walt G from my 36 years in the business I can opine that its due to a vertible tsunami of incompent corporate management...

 
At 1/05/2012 1:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Walt: "More choices make it better for customers at the expense of businesses that cannot produce what the customers demand. If airline customers are not empowered today, why do so many airlines go bankrupt now?"

juandos: "Well Walt G from my 36 years in the business I can opine that its due to a vertible tsunami of incompent corporate management..."

Here's another thought.

 
At 1/05/2012 3:29 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Here's another thought"...

ron h you don't know how bad I wanted to say that very thing...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 
At 1/05/2012 5:03 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

this is how that works with countries too, eh?

;-)

 
At 1/05/2012 8:56 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


What I can't get my head around is why people keep going back for a flogging...

This is especially true after most carriers started charging a luggage fee...

People dumb enough to put up with the crap airlines lay on them now a days deserving the hosing they get from the airlines...

They may not like it, but there really aren't any alternatives that are meaningfully different and are a like-for-like replacement.

When nearly all the airlines charge the fees, there isn't a practical way to avoid them on a consistent basis. Same thing with the rest of the practices.

 
At 1/06/2012 2:43 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "ron h you don't know how bad I wanted to say that very thing...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
"

No problem. Anytime you feel constrained from saying something, just let me know, & I'll say it. :)

 

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