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Boeing Gets FCC Approval For Broadband Service 154

Posted by Hemos
from the keep-it-moving dept.
lba writes "Boeing's plans to offer broadband on their planes (as in this earlier /. article) gets into the next phase... BBC News has a story about them now getting FCC approval for this project. Protoypes of Connexion, as the service is called, would be installed on Lufthansa planes in about a year. Three US Airline companies canceled their support for the project last November."
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Boeing Gets FCC Approval For Broadband Service

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  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:36PM (#2760683)
    Woohoo! Next time some terrorist waltzes through airport security and the passengers kick his ass, we get live streaming video!
    • Yeah, or like I said on my site [blazeconnect.net] - you can send ICQ messages to your friends at home that the guy in the next isle is trying to light his shoes ;)
    • >>Woohoo! Next time some terrorist
      >>waltzes through airport security
      >>and the passengers kick his ass,
      >> we get live streaming video!
      >> -Tackhead

      Somebody mod that post up! LOL. Anyway, my contributing point: in addition to a sweet airborne broadband connection, you can enjoy constant onboard surveillance a-la Big Brother. I can't imagine trying to travelling commercial airlines these days AND working on flights. In addition to being terrified the entire time, you can be videoconferencing with the boss, or surfing for pr0n, or watch a DVD movie... The possibilities are endless.

      I'm sure that Casino On Net or some other pop-up demon would run betting pools on flights. It can be run against expensive, highly inaccurate face recognition technology. We just don't have enough of that cultural/racial profiling these days.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is that the seats will be wider to accomodate the extra wiring and laptop-platform. Of course, all the pictures I've seen of this setup have people turned 90 degrees to the side making it a little hard on the back. Then again, a little lower back pain will go nicely with my carpal tunnel.
  • by Sase (311326)
    It's about time :)

    I can't wait... Does anyone know if they'll impliment this on older craft?
    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Buran (150348) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:43PM (#2760721)
      I have a sneaking suspicion that when it is implemented, it'll wind up in first class -- which most of us almost never get to use. All of the news articles I've seen so far have been implying that this will be a great revolution that will allow us all to check our AOL e-mail at 50,000 feet -- but something tells me that the only people who will get to do that will also be sipping wine and eating caviar while they do it.

      However, I also have to say that I'd never expected the US airlines to back out. We Americans are the most wired country in the world, and certainly one of the most gadget-happy -- and our airlines turn their backs on this just when it's literally ready to fly?

      Go figure. I have to wonder how much of a "free ride" Lufthansa is going to get now that those who the system may have been built for no longer care about it.
      • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:54PM (#2760770) Homepage
        We Americans are the most wired country in the world, and certainly one of the most gadget-happy

        I think that might be an over generalization. There is a great disparity between haves and have nots in this country such that it'd be hard to support that claim. Count the palm pilots in rural mississippi or louisiana. If there were a "most wired" or "most gadget-happy" nation, I'd have to give it to Singapore or Japan.

        • "If there were a "most wired" or "most gadget-happy" nation, I'd have to give it to Singapore or Japan."
          True. Apologies. I should probably have said instead that the US is one of the most well-known countries for typical PC networking (in other words, Americans tend to use desktop PCs and notebooks far more than is the case in Japan); I don't know what types of devices are used in Singapore, but I know that a lot of the computing in Japan is on game consoles -- the differences between English language and Japanese is a big barrier to overcome for a typical keyboard user.

          (Way off-topic: I was surprised to find that IRC seems to work just fine with accented characters for the most part; the channel I frequent has a German user, and my copy of mIRC receives his umlauts just fine -- I didn't know it could do that. The MUCKs I use -- a type of MUD -- don't. Neat stuff.)

          Now understanding what he's saying? Completely different matter entirely; I don't know much German ...

        • Re:Finally (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If there were a "most wired" or "most gadget-happy" nation, I'd have to give it to Singapore or Japan.

          I have no facts about "most gadget happy", but "most wired" does exist - currently (as of June 2001) the honor is a tie, and goes to Switzerland and Canada [multimediator.com] with 73%

          The US was a close second (third?) with 72%.
      • Wha??? (Score:5, Funny)

        by schon (31600) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:57PM (#2760784)
        We Americans are the most wired country in the world

        Can you back that up with a reference?

        A quick search tells me that Finland [www.stat.fi] is #1.

        Or were you using the term "world" as in "world series" (which apparently means "USA - and maybe Canada occasionally if we're feeling particularly generous")?
        • Re:Wha??? (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          This is off-topic, but the World Series was originally the "New York World Series", named after the newspaper "New York World" that sponsored it. People got sick of saying that so it got shortened to the "World Series." It has nothing to do with claiming the US (and Canada) are the entire world.
          • the World Series was originally the "New York World Series", named after the "New York World" that sponsored it.

            Yes, I know that - and you know that, but how many other people (especially in the US) know that? Everyone I've talked to seems to believe it's because it decides the world's best baseball team.

            To paraphrase John Cleese:
            One of the things that makes the UK better than the US is that when we hold the world championship for a sport, we invite teams from other countries.
        • A quick search tells me that Finland [www.stat.fi] is [the most wired country in the world].

          There's a nice graph on that page with a bar that shows Finland ahead of the US in Internet connections. That doesn't really mean much, since this is how they figured it:

          There were some 546,000 Internet connections in Finland in January 19992, 107 per 1000 inhabitants, as calculated mechanically on the basis of the country code shown in the network address, an approach which nevertheless entails a number of uncertainty factors. The users of the commercial com. network, for example, cannot be located to country, so that the network address of a computer located in Finland does not necessarily have to end with 'fi'. It is similarly impossible to count the number of Internet users on the basis of these data.
          So basically it's saying there are more hosts on .fi domains per capita than the US. That doesn't really qualify Finland as the most wired country in the world.
      • have a sneaking suspicion that when it is implemented, it'll wind up in first class -- which most of us almost never get to use.

        If they can make money off of the cattle-class customers by charging them for the service, they'll do it!
      • by Louis (21388) on Friday December 28, 2001 @10:37PM (#2761316)
        Most of the latest technological advances in in-flight operations have not been confined to first class:

        1. laptop power outlets: Not just in first class but also in a wide selection of coach seats.

        2. LCD screens: On new 767/777s most airlines have chosen to install the new LCDs on all seats, coach included.

        3. Satellite TV: Jetblue doesn't have a first class section, so all seats have LCDs with satellite tv.

        4. GTE Airfones: Although much maligned (with reason) these also debuted in coach as well as first.
    • they will be able to support all seats through
      the airphone if a low cost solution is desired.
      dial-up to a local 56k modem bank which dishes
      you an IP address and forwards requests with masquerading. you have a special phone number which is intercepted via airphone system..
      it's already a working technology, used by some other company that's in the same business..
  • by Peter Dyck (201979)
    I'd rather have the cash-starved airlines investing in the security and maintenance than this.
    • Wrong department (Score:4, Informative)

      by Brendan Byrd (105387) <SineSwiper-slash ... esonatorSoft.org> on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:44PM (#2760725) Homepage Journal
      This is Boeing, not American Airlines. Boeing makes planes, not fly them. The guys making the planes make a LOT of money.
      • Yeah, I know it's Boeing and that Boeing makes planes.

        But these are the planes the airlines buy. My point was that they should not buy this new stuff (because it has "the net") but to improve the existing fleet.

    • I'd rather have the cash-starved airlines investing in the security and maintenance than this.

      Why do their investments have to be 'either-or'?

      I'd rather they invest in security, maintenance, AND improvements like this all at the same time.
    • Re:Wrong investment (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Byteme (6617) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:51PM (#2760758) Homepage
      After security and maintenance I'd ask for better food. I'd put broadband-in-flight last on the list.

      • I'd rather have the broadband, and no food. Or just let us bring our own. Why on earth would I need a meal on a 3 hour flight? Do they think that we all need to eat every 2 hours or we die?
        • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Friday December 28, 2001 @09:05PM (#2761141) Homepage
          So many people thing airplanes are like movie theatres (although things may have tightened up since 9-11). Personally, I like to buy a box of piping hot Cinnabons and slowly consume them during the first 90 minutes of the flight... The smell makes everyone for 10 rows in both directions think really evil thoughts about me!
        • OK, I'd rather have a toilet at my seat in the place of broadband. A fully stocked bar would be nice. Free Valium? Massages? The real issue is the fact that it should be long after improved security and maintenance. However, not all flights are 3 hours, and the food does suck.

          • Well I think they should just let us bring our own food. So when I fly out of La Guardia I can stop by the local deli and grab a real sandwich instead of the styrofoam they serve us.
      • After security and maintenance I'd ask for better food. I'd put broadband-in-flight last on the list.
        Remember we're not talking about what the consumer wants, but what Boeing could do.

        While Boeing could probably devise features that facilitate better airplane security, getting airlines to be better about maintenance and food is an issue that is probably less in their control.
  • by Chairboy (88841)
    I don't know if it's just my browser or what, but the photo of three Boeing jets in the article seems a bit corrupted. The lead jet appears to be either burning or mangled right after the trailing edge of the left wing.

    In articles about airliners, you'd think that this specific type of compression artifact would be noticed earlier.....
  • With the coming of broadband to the air abroad, does anyone know what other requirements or rather preventions foreign airlines like Luft has in-flight? Can you use cellphones or GPS or good stuff like that in other countries?

    Broadband midflight may actually make voice-over-IP rather interesting competition to those $9.00/min AirPhone calls...
    • Seeing as it's not a major issue between airlines (as in: "nobody's going to stop going to an airline because this one has cheap air-phone costs"), they will probably just quietly implement voice-over-IP and still charge the $9/min. After all, airlines still charge sky-high prices for food.
    • Heh, what makes you think they won't charge $9.00/min for the broadband? I mean, these are the airlines!
    • Cell phones put out significantly more power than 802.11, and have the technical problem of being within range of too many cell phone towers, causing routing havoc and tying up frequencies that could be used by multiple people on the ground.

      Although commercial GPS receivers are limited by law to about 900 knots and 60,000 ft, you shouldn't reach this in most jetliners since this is about mach 1.3 @ 20,000 feet (the concorde can reach 1260 knots). However, some GPS manufacturers artificially limit their lower end receivers so that you must purchase their more expensive 'aviation' receivers to use above 90 knots.
  • ... Three US Airline companies
    canceled their support for the project last November."


    Overreaction. As american as Mom, the Flag and Apple Pie. When will the government and business realize that if there's a weakness it's in not having a legacy of assasinating leaders and setting up banana republics, winning no matter the cost.

  • If I go on IRC will I see myself getting peer'd often because of a cloud or two? What about latency?

    I think I can live without the internet for a few hours.
  • by MathJMendl (144298) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:41PM (#2760713) Homepage
    First lightning fast air travel, then lightning fast internet access. What's next, lightning fast pizza delivery?
  • How about wireless 802.11 stuff on an airplace too? I would live to be able to wip out the laptop and have inet connection no more listening to that stupid person next to you on the plane.
    • Hmm, somebody's got to work on their social skills.
    • Wireless? They already act like your walkman or cellphone will bring the plane down...

      This airborn broadband seems like an expensive gimmick. Last hotel I was in charged a fortune (per minute) for hookup... can't imagine what an airline will charge.

      Finally, I've never been forced to listen to anyone sitting next to me on a plane. Skip a few showers before you board, if you must!
      • Last time I stayed at a hotel (Marriott New Orleans), the net connection in the rooms was essentially a PBX-level DSL system, with a DSLAM in the PBX closet. 10 bucks a day (noon to noon), but the neat catch was that you were only billed if you hit port 80 and thus their transparent proxy, which ran you trhough a sign-up process before letting you out. Naturally, it didn't take me long to figure out that I didn't have to deal with this if I just tunneled out via ssh.
  • AirLine Costs ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperDuG (134989) <be.eclec@tk> on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:43PM (#2760723) Homepage Journal
    Acutal BBC article ... [bbc.co.uk] Anyone here ever used AirPhones?? yeah ... well I see this as being a great way to drop a good $40 on a plane ride for the ability to look at pr0n and check email ... plus who's going to give tech support?

    Though it would be cool to join the "Downloaded and recompiled my kernel mile high" club ... Personally terrorism or not ... I can't stand to be in a plane more than an hour ... but this would be nice ...

    I don't see this being in coach at all ... but it is nice to see that you can feel more comfortable when traveling ... to save on installation problems ... using 802.11 would be the best way to go ... and with everything popping up with 802.11 it's about time for notebook users to grab a card anyways ...

    • There is no way the FAA would EVER allow 802.11x on a plane. The airline industry, is terrified of any kind of wireless communications causing a wreck.
  • by Rev.LoveJoy (136856) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:44PM (#2760726) Homepage Journal
    With out new "anti-terrorism" laws.

    I can just see a bunch of headphone'd CS freaks on their laptops screaming at the top of their lungs, "OH YEAH, YOU WANT SOME?! FUCKING DIE! SUCK THE SNOT END OF MY FUCKSTICK YOU PUKE!!"

    while the beverage cart rolls by ...

    Cheers,
    - RLJ

    • better yet they turn up the volume on their laptop just to add to the fun as the cart rolls on buy

      *Cover me!*
      BOOM!
      *Need backup*
      RAT-TAT-TAT
      *The Bomb has been planted*
      At this point I imagine their would be some sort of incident.. involving sedation. and belts.
  • If this thing actually works, maybe they should get rid of the cockpit voice/data recorders and just upload all the information off the plane.

    In addition to being able to determine the cause of crashes more quickly, it might help ground personel know what is happening with airplanes long before they crash (perhaps helping pilots avoid crashes).
    • I actually emailed boeing about this specifically the last time this story was on slashdot and surprisingly got a personal reply from one of their engineers within a week.

      He said that they were planning on testing this as a way to back up the voice/data recorders on the plane, but he wasn't sure if this was something that would end up in the final product or not. Limitations etc were still to be determined.

      I offered to go to work for them on this very task but surprisingly enough I haven't heard back. ; )

      In any case it's quite cool that their engineers were already planning on this pre-9/11.
  • Conxion [conxion.com] probably won't be too happy with them using the name "Connexion" with regards to an Internet service. Lawyers everywhere rejoice.
  • How? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 2Bits (167227) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:49PM (#2760750)
    Airborne internet access would, if successful, help diversify the Boeing group away from the cyclical jet building business.

    And how?

    Boeing is going to install internet connection on their airplanes, and Boeing is still in the business of .... building airplanes. How is installing a few more wires going to change that?

    • Retrofit (Score:2, Informative)

      by Mr. X (17716)

      Boeing can retrofit the already sold planes with this new tech.. It's not limited to only new planes. This gives them work to do when the airlines stop ordering new planes.
    • by 8bit (127134)
      they become ISPs and a space corperation (assuming they want satelites)
    • Because Boeing will get a cut of the cost charged for internet access using there service...
  • by gnovos (447128) <gnovos&chipped,net> on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:51PM (#2760757) Homepage Journal
    A whole new twist on drive-by wireless hackings... War Flying!
  • by embobo (1520) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:52PM (#2760761) Homepage
    root@laptop:# ping -f cockpit

    "This is your captain speaking. Would whoever is ping flooding the cockpit please stop? I'm trying to telnet to the altimeter and the packets are being dropped. I'm not sure, but I think we are about to hit Mount Rushmore."

  • by jcr (53032)
    Any hint of what this connectivity is going to cost per hour?

    Also, are we ever going to see airline travel deregulated to the point where I can fly Lufthansa from SFO to LGA? ;-)

    -jcr
  • Convergence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zen Mastuh (456254) on Friday December 28, 2001 @06:56PM (#2760780)

    Now they can watch live streaming video, courtesy of cnn.com [cnn.com], of their plane crashing into a building after being hijacked by some sick bastard. Until that happens, it's a great way to pass the time in those cramped cabins.

    By the way, I hope it's not connected at all to any of the plane's navigation/communication/control systems...

  • Having just spent something in excess of 15 hours on board aircraft these holidays i seriously could have used this.

    The obvious thing would be to install airport or other 802.11 stuff (wasn't there an article sometime back about Virgin Atlantic loking to do something like that?) And I know that some airlines are already installing 110 outlets on the bulkheads and such.

    LAN party at 30,000 ft!!!!
  • ...everyone using Boeing Wireless in the Southern U.S. is down and using Netzero.
  • by Freneticus (546178) on Friday December 28, 2001 @07:15PM (#2760825)
    (inside the plane of the future ...)

    Stewardess- "Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll please look at the color code bar fastened against your seat backs, you can tell whether you have been seated in your requested section or not. Please recall that all seats with a gold border are regions 1-3, all seats with a silver border are region 4-6, and all seats with slate border are not allowed access. Remember, color denotes permissable access. Red bars denote pornography, blue bars denote warez, green bars denote live video feeds of you looking at the green bars, orange bars denote a block on port 6667, yellow bars denote smoking *and* pornography, and purple bars denote seats not yet installed with broadband access. Also, remember that the color beige does not actually signify anything; that is the color of seatbacks without digital panels. Please do not request assistance on manipulating your seatback. No matter how hard you push, it will not sprout a flat panel display. Thank you for observing all regulations."

  • I live in the bay area and read recently that CALTRAIN plans to shutdown the railroad system every weekends for TWO years! Reason given: repairs and improvements.

    Do you think that they are planning on installing a broadband access in trains too?

    I seriously doubt that but since the recent events of downturn economy, uprising traffic and risks in flying have cropped up, train usage has rapidely become popular around here.

    They could even use the tracks themselves to carry the signal. And typing on a laptop during an hour commute to the city would make more sense than sitting in a car stupidely behind the wheels.

    Ah! I miss Japan.

    PPA -- the girl next door.
  • Could someone mind telling me exactly why people need broadband on planes to begin with?

    Noone is doing so much downloading that they cannot put it on pause for a few hours.

    Hardcore gamers wouldn't use this service either -- signals bouncing from sat to sat to plane rarely provide nice pings.

    I might expect someone to say "What about those telecommuters that MUST check in and work while on plane?" -- since that bill would be footed by the boss I DOUBT they would make this mistake more than once. . . and they think airphones are expensive.

    Could SOMEONE tell me what an average (or even slightly rare) traveler would need a sweet broadband connection while in the air? Perhaps the other companies pulled out because they couldnt answer this question themselves...
  • What's to keep a suicidal terrorist from combining a handhelp GPS unit with broadband to reveal the plane's course and location? Maybe this service needs to provide only incoming connections?
  • by Breace (33955) on Friday December 28, 2001 @07:34PM (#2760895) Homepage
    but don't have your hopes up yet.

    I work in the industry, and in fact our product would probably benefit (as in, sold more) if Connexion was available.

    I have to say though that it is at the moment mainly vapor. (their demo link uses a satellite dish the size of Washington). I've read a bunch of their documents, and it's surprising how much time they spent on describing silly details and being very vague about how to actually solve the real problems.

    Their biggest problem though: they have a .com business plan. As in, it don't make no sense. To sum it up: we are going get this fast pipe to the airplane and then we are all going to be rich. It sounds an awful lot like the in-seat airphones fiasco in the making. (for those who don't know it: these things have only COST money, which was carried by GTE & AT&T)

    Again, I would love to have a high speed connection to the plane, but there are many problems to overcome. On the less-technical side for example: tech support. Take an office with 300 people all connected to the internet. What kind of staff is needed to support that? Who's going to do that in the airplane? I can guarantee you that it's not going to be the flight attendants. Especially in the US where their union will scream bloody murder over just the slightest increase in workload.

    Sorry to be so negative, but the combination of Boeings bureaucracy and a .com business plan just doesn't sound good...
    • actually quite simple. 1 linux box and 1 802.11 accesspoint. the linux box will dhcp everyone and if they cant get it to work the stweard's response will be "sucks to be you, want some peanuts?" needs no admin except when it lands and needs updates because some script kiddie was riding with his parents and 0wn3d the box on the flight from DC to Chicago.
      • 1 802.11 accesspoint to serve, say, 300 passengers? Remember that their system actually has to scale all the way up to at least 500 passengers.

        I know it's hard to believe now, but when you design a system like this you have to go for worst case,- when installed this has to work also 10 years from now.

        I don't know that considering the physical space and number of users (say 500) 802.11 is the answer. I doubt it will work very well under these conditions though.

        needs no admin except when it lands
        The airlines will NEVER buy into that. The only thing that 'flies' is 'needs NO admin'. fullstop.

        Believe me, this environment requires solutions that you don't come up with in 5 seconds.
        • The original poster meant "needs no admin except when it's on the ground"

          Of course no admin is needed for the landing

          • Yes, I understand. And I mean that even if an admin is needed on the ground, the airlines won't put up with it. You just have to understand how airplane turnarounds work,- there is NO time to fsck around with systems like this. A system should work UNATTENDED for weeks, if not months.
  • While filtering may be a diffrent story on in library, what about on a plane? In such a confined space, surely there would be very vocal objections to someone looking up hate sites and pornography in clear few of children, and those why may be offended. This, in my mind, is enough to damper the whole idea. Who, and how would filtering be controlled?
    • How is this a new problem?

      "Objectionable Material" on aircrafts does not seem to be a problem despite the fact that we can already bring as much as we want.

      Let's count the number of ways we can already carry "objectionable material" onto a plane.. On your hard disk, on a CDROM/DVD, Magazine, Book, Poster, blow-up doll....

      I think people would BYOP (bring your own porn) before they would pay for it through what will be grossly overpriced (see airphones for an example) net-access, anyway.

      You alarmists who want to filter everything sicken me. Why don't you just title your post "oh, won't you pleeeese think of the children"...
  • "Addicted to 1Mb/s download rates, former @home customers appear in droves at airports, hoping to get a taste of the high bandwidth connections"
  • Some technical details can be found in the post [slashdot.org] that I made when the first item came out in June. At the time, I posted it a bit late, so it missed the usual early Informative modder-uppers and thus stayed in Score:1 oblivion.
    • Reading through the press release details, it appears that the testing done to date has been air to ground with an 1150 mile maximum range. The satellite portion was something to be done in the future. I have my reservations about the viability of two-way broadband satellite communication from an aircraft.

      The 'enabling technology' is a solid-state phased array antenna. This might be compact enough to mount on the belly of an aircraft and use the phasing to control the antenna azimuth because it's basically a 2-dimensional problem. However, with satellites, you have to control both azimuth and elevation and that doesn't have an easy solution by phasing the antenna elements. Once you turn it into a 3-D problem, the antenna has to have a wide open view above the airframe which means you will have to replace some of the aluminum aircraft skin with radome material. You can imagine the re-certification issues that would cause.
  • So, if a scruples-challenged marketer SPAMS all of us from 30,000 feet, who has jurisdiction. And you thought anti-SPAM laws were tough to enforce now? :)
  • heheh, if they put 802.11 in the cabin, get your rooftop servo controlled directional antenna up, 'cause I'm getting my broadband from that spec at 35,000 feet! (damn shielding...:()

    Braddock
    who has often wondered about bouncing boosted 802.11 off passing aircraft for 100+ mile range.
  • There is a billboard on the 405 South in Long Beach of a guy sitting on a plane with a laptop. Big Boeing logo, and I think it says something like "Connexion" in large white letters. Doesn't really explain what it does or how it's supposed to magically change our lives.


    So, instead of the whole idea just being a black pit that Boeing is dropping money into, they are also racking up the expenses on an ad campaign. I wonder how many line workers they are going to have to lay off to pay for this screwed up idea...any guesses?

  • but I assume this is going to be a pay service. Shell out $X per minute of connectivity, or such.

    What's to stop someone from plugging in a laptop, paying for the service, then giving the rest of the plane NAT'ed access via 802.11?

    Sorry, us techies just like to spend our time thinking of ways around things like that :)
  • How could you prosecute a hacker in international airspace? What laws apply?
  • Better don't get a plane full of geeks playing quake via a gateway portable :o)

    or a hackers delight?
  • I think the American Airlines (Companies, not company) being onboard says a lot about the current companies. They treat people like cattle unless they pay through the nose. I am lucky enough to be in a city that recently recieved service from JetBlue. I'll be flying them February to FL (havn't flown them yet.) Get this...all seats a leather, with 24(?) channel tv in the seatbacks...no extra cost. Not only that, the tickets are manytimes less than half the cost of their closest competitor out of SYR.

    While all the airlines are in the toilet right now, SouthWest and JetBlue are doing the best from what I understand. Isn't that hard to image? The two discount carriers who pride themselves on customer service not being in the shitter when everyone else is!?

    Internet (for free) in all the seats would do great things for the US carriers that would install it (highest cost is fuel, not giving customers toys to keep them occupied.) I for one think it may be good for a couple of the major airlines to go belly up.

    Sorry this is kind of off topic, but the issue really bugs me.

    -Pete
  • Hey boeing, forget the internet access and give me a power outlet to plug my laptop into first!
    • [power outlets] Already installed !... at least in the class where businessmen tend to seat - business class. So there will be a higher price tag to get there and to have internet access. tourist class is meant for tourists.
      • Now if someone would just tell my boss...

        I didn't mind tourist class to Dallas, after at it is a short flight. (and American gives more legroom then NorthWorst, at least on that flight), but stuck in tourist class to Europe was bad, I might upgrade out of my own pocket next time, two inches would be worth it. (and I think it is more than that)

  • We would like to request the passenger in seat 17A quit downloading prOn as it is interfering with out radar. While the Navigator is enjoying the pictures, the silcone is interfering with our navigation. And to answer the most asked question, no you can not take the connection to the lavatory with you. Thnak you for flying with us today. Now back to our movie "Airplane"
  • by ryanvm (247662) on Saturday December 29, 2001 @01:28AM (#2761539)
    I'll tell you what - this isn't a troll, but it sure is going to sound like one.

    When are we going to see the end of this pathetic obsession for "all things shiny and fast" that we Americans are cursed with. For the love of Jeebus - do we really need to be on the Internet _that_ much?

    I would like to see what kind of effect it would have on the average Slashdotter to be without electronic devices for 3 weeks (e.g. camping in Canada). I have a sneaking suspicion that it would leave most of you blubbering in the corner of your tent with a snot bubble hanging out of your nose.

    But seriously, this story just reminded me how terribly inconsequential most of the "news" on this site really is. Guess what guys - there is actually more to life than downloading ISOs 30,000 feet about the ground.

    [That's the end of my rant. Feel free to mod me into oblivion - I probably deserve it.]
    • When are we going to see the end of this pathetic obsession for "all things shiny and fast" that we Americans are cursed with. For the love of Jeebus - do we really need to be on the Internet _that_ much?

      For the average slashdotter, this is a "Oooh, shiny" sort of thing. Now I can play Counter Strike on the plane! Whooppee! For business travelers, it's an added convenience. A reason to fly one airline over another. Access the the company network over a VPN. Besides, have you ever been on a really long flight? Say, Europe or Aisa from Detroit? I know several business travelers who do one or the other on a regular basis. It's cramped and it takes 10 hours or so. The ability to get some work done or browse a little (porn|slashdot) would be a very welcome diversion.

  • Now I can frag online from 39,000 feet!

    -Dave
  • broadband porn will make the transatlantic flight so much quicker :)
  • I wonder what kind of an impact in-flight internet would have had on the september 11th events. Would suddenly eveery suspect on a plain be looked upon closer the moment some geek had stumbled upon it on the web? Perhaps could it have prevented the second, third, or fourth plain crashes?

    I'm certain one plain destroying one building would have had a major impact, but less of one then three buildings hit and a handfull of dead hero's in PA.
  • Boeing sees this as a way to bring in lots of planes for expensive refits. The problem is that once installed, it will either be every epensive and not used by the cuostmers (like the phones) or cheap where it could pay its self off. Is it wireless in the cabin? With the quality of some of the wan cards, I expect that would be short lived as once a bad card messes up and ADF or VOR. Maybe they will just run ethernet to the seats. Its got the advantage that its cheap and you know who is using it.

    I would be willing to pay up to $5/hr for ethernet on a plane but it better be quick. DHCP is fine but its got to be bi-directional so some of the NAT tricks wouldn't work. I would also need power for thouse long trips (LAX->MEL is 17hrs).

    The dish network recivers for the Cessna jets are a samll dish (10in?) that have a fast tracker on
    them that sits on top of the rudder. Nice little devices.
  • So when did the proper spelling of the word 'connexion' become a corporate trademark?

    Grr.

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