In-flight broadband changes travel
Japanese airline ACA recently became the latest operator to integrate wireless internet access into its planes, allowing users to connect to the web while in the air. The possibilities are limitless, with frequent business travellers set to be connected 24/7 when the technology gets going.
So how is such an innovation going to change the in-flight experience? It’s all down to social media – at least according to Virgin America, which has launched a new application called Here on Biz that allows passengers to connect to one another in the air.
The airline, which is also trialling Google Glass as part of an experiment to see how technology can change the experience, is perhaps best placed to monitor the innovation as it became the first to allow mobile connectivity and SMS texting aboard its flights in 2011.
Slow speeds and high prices have previously held in-flight Wi-Fi back, but a recent survey indicated that the tide is changing, especially with Ofcom greenlighting 50Mbps aboard transport this year.
Indeed, both the travel and telecoms industries are full of people who believe that the time for connectivity in the air is now very much here, citing the dominance of electrical devices over our lives these days.
“Whether you see going without broadband on long-haul trips as a blessing or curse, being connected is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” commented Adam Kirby, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.
Isabel Montesdeoca, managing director of travel service Concur, added: “Access to internet services isn’t a luxury on the road. It’s the difference between missing a flight and boarding.”
Wherever you’re travelling, the argument highlights the importance of our devices – even on the plane where we’re used to being asked to switch them off. Ensure that if your phone, tablet or laptop falls foul of trouble abroad that you are covered by your insurance policy.