As you can expect, we are very keen to understand what passengers think about, how they feel and what they desire when it comes to all things entertainment and connectivity. So I spend quite a bit of time communicating with passengers through various mediums. And because I believe the data and responses we see are important for the whole industry to see, I’ve begun sharing the information through this blog.
As a regular traveler, I try to keep up-to-date on all the latest developments in travel technology. Especially when it comes to planes, because in my experience that’s where you get the widest range of service, from absolutely abysmal to incredible. It seems like it’s at least every week that I’m reading an article about in-flight entertainment in a travel magazine and it’s talking about in-flight movies, in-flight internet, and so on. The writer is gushing about how amazing it will be when we can all hook up our laptops or our iPads or pull out our BlackBerry and get a high-speed internet signal just as if we were sat in front of our desks. Well, here’s some news I wish they’d put in a traveler magazine instead: I don’t want the internet on my plane! I don’t want my company to expect me to work on the plane because I have access to the internet. And when I’m on my own time on vacation I don’t need a thousand distractions, I don’t need to get updates on my favorite sports team or check my Facebook wall, my travel time is my “me time”.
There are a few carriers which already offer in-flight internet access, so of course I’ve been curious enough to check it out. From what I can see it’s generally slow and it’s expensive - I certainly don’t want to pay $12 to spend half my flight staring frustrated at a “Waiting for response…” message. Of course, things like that will be improved, but even so I’m simply not interested in it. When I’m after in-flight entertainment, it’s always appreciated if they have screens in the back of the seats so I can choose a movie and relax if I want to, but in-flight internet is really not my idea of entertainment at all. It’s just another way to be bothered by everyone, to be tempted to check my email for work, to do a hundred things. I’d rather appreciate the fact that thanks to the modern marvel of human flight I’m frequently able to enjoy a little slice of life 40,000 feet above ordinary, and I don’t need the internet bringing me back down to earth.
If in-flight internet access does become a big thing, you’ll always be able to recognize me on any plane. While everyone else is tapping away on their touch-screen phones or bathed in the blue light from their laptop, I’ll be sitting in the middle of the technological chaos, relaxing and enjoying the flight just like the captain told me to.
You can see what’s being said on LinkedIn about this article by clicking here.
I’ll also be posting comments from a passenger who wants connectivity in the next couple of days. Also, if you are interested in passenger responses, here are our other recent posts with comments from PAX.