WiFi on airlines is coming.  On some airlines it is already here.  This article talks about a few of the providers and discusses service plans and pricing options.

“Yes, broadband is coming. We’re sitting there asking, ‘Who pays? Is it the airlines or the customers? And what will they pay? What is the right technology? … When does all of this happen?’ We’re in weird economic times,” Moeller said.

Its interesting that in high-end hotels the WiFi is paid for by the guest whereas in the cheap hotels the WiFi is free.  So far this pattern is playing out on the airlines too with JetBlue offering free WiFi and others charging hefty fees.  Of course it is not truly free so the way to understand this is that on airlines with business travelers it makes sense to charge a high price at the expense of excluding the cheapskates.  On the low-cost airlines revenue is maximized by setting a low price that virtually everyone is willing to pay.  If everyone is paying the price then it saves on transaction costs by rolling it into the airfare.  And it makes us feel good to be told that it is “free.”

Every news story about airline WiFi has the obligitory porn reference.

As for the possibility of passengers offending their seat-mates by surfing for inappropriate content, Blumenstein said nine months of Wi-Fi availability on American yielded no such incidents. Still, airlines including American, Delta and United have requested screening for potentially offensive content, he said.

This is never going to be a problem.  There is a key complementary activity and the ban on that activity is easily enforced.  Without the complementary activity there will be no demand for porn.

Advertisements