Friday, December 07, 2007

The Internet is arriving at Terminal 1.

The cabin crew will be coming among you to hand out your complimentaary , drinks and laptop connevctions. In the event of turblance please log off.

From next week several US airlines will start to test Internet service on their planes. JetBlue Airlines will offer a free e-mail and instant messaging service on one of its planes, and in the coming months several airlines American, Virgin America and Alaska plan to offer broader Web access.

The plan is to create wireless hotspots in the sky once the plane has reached cruising height. Virgin ,who were an early pioneer of in flight entertainment, plans to link the technology to its seat-back entertainment system, enabling passengers who are not travelling with laptops or smart phones to send messages on flights.
The question is whether the cat is out of the bag? How can you allow internet access and not VOIP services such as Skype and we are already facing the prospect of mobile calls. Imagine a long haul flight next to a chatterbox. However it looks as though the initial speed will be equivalent to dial up so will restrict many broadband services.

Will they or won’t they charge? A nominal sum of $10 looks on the cards but at a charge so low why not give it away?

Internet access offers everyone an opportunity to sell or connect to a consumer who is strapped into a seat and really is a captive audience. The opportunities for publishers and retailers is significant and the hand baggage check in queue will grow as everyone brings on board their laptops, Blackberrys, PDAs, mobiles, iPods etcs.