I couldn’t believe it when I received this announcement from AirTran, which I have flown perhaps twice in my life: Wi-Fi available on ALL of its flights and planes! This was about as great as the time I heard the BoltBus between New York and DC came with free Wi-Fi, except I don’t really like reading on buses, so I would end up getting motion sickness and not be able to take advantage of the Wi-Fi. However I don’t have that issue on planes, so I’m particularly excited about this.
Jon and I have developed a habit of pronouncing Wi-Fi the French way, which is like “Wee-Fee”, after living in Paris for those few months. Left on his own one day, Jon pulled out all the non food-related French words he knew and asked a cafe waiter if they had Wi-Fi. The version he told was, “Avez-vous wee-fee?” But he later admitted he just entered and blurted, “Wee-fee?” But I digress.
Back to AirTran. Through a partnership with Gogo in-flight Internet, Wi-Fi costs $9.95 for laptops for flights under three hours. For flights more than three, it’s $12.95. On all flights, regardless of time, handheld devices are $7.95, so you can get your Crackberry fix while in flight.
Currently, several airlines offer or are planning to offer Wi-Fi in some of its cabins and flights: American, Delta, Southwest, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines. American, for example, offers it on select cross-country flights between New York and Los Angeles, Los Angeles and Miami, and New York and San Francisco. AirTran, however, is the first to offer Wi-Fi on all its flights.
Downside: You will need extra battery to keep your laptop alive for the whole flight unless you’re in a powered seat. According to seatguru.com, not all seats are equipped with power to plug into. I’m not sure if AirTran is upgrading all its planes to accommodate the power demand, but it may just be a good time to replace your dying battery anyway (Jon).