At altitude, December 2011
About this photo: Thematic celebrates screens this week. If you've got a screen-related pic you'd like to share, head here.The good news: Our flight offered free wi-fi. The bad news: It expired after 30 minutes, at which point I'd be asked to fork over for the privilege of annoying my seatmates with my incessant Internauting.
My workaround? Simple: Collect every wi-fi-enabled device in my bag, and simply sign in anew when each half-hour ran out. By my count, I had five devices - laptop, two tablets, BlackBerry and iPod touch. - which got me 2-and-a-half hours of connected goodness on a three-hour flight.
Now, let's be clear that I am no fan of in-flight connectivity. Up until recently, in-flight aircraft represented the last bastion of near-silence for the over-wired. No pinging texts, no filling inboxes, no online games. Just the blessed peace and quiet associated with forcibly-disconnected flyers reading, napping or, horrors, chatting with each other. I lament the fact that society feels the need to fill every nook and cranny with high-bandwidth connectivity. Sometimes, it would be nice to simply pull the plug for a bit.
But, hypocrite that I apparently am, I was willing to set aside my anti-wireless-at-altitude stance for a chance to email silly pictures of myself to everyone I knew. Because as a one-time thing, it was a heck of a lot of fun. And as I happily skipped from one device to another to slurp up my half-hour snippets of free wireless, I couldn't help but think that, used with care, this could be a neat addition to the human landscape.
Who was I kidding? Between Alec Baldwin playing Words With Friends and the kid across the aisle using his iPad to record obscene-sounding bodily functions, I think we're all doomed.
Your turn: Wi-fi in flight. Good, bad, or indifferent?