This has been a major week for air travelers and tech! First, Delta became the first airline to allow use of small devices on take-off and landing. (Something we tried ourselves this week and yeah, it was kind of nice not to have to turn off Homeland on the iPad at a critical moment just because we were getting ready for landing.) And now Gogo Wireless has some huge news that will keep us from unplugging ever even for one single moment.
(Uh, I mean make things easier when you have work to do at 30,000 feet up.)
If you’re signed into GoGo’s in-flight Wi-Fi system, starting in January you’ll be able to do more than surf the Net and send emails. Now you can send texts and even make phone calls using your smartphone through pretty much whatever carrier you already use.
Basically you download the GoGo Text & Talk app for iOS or Android, and then when you hit the right altitude and speed, you are allowed to live-text your sweetie to tell him all that important stuff like how the airline ran out of the chicken wrap and you’re really really hungry.
I’ll be honest, I’m a little less excited about the phone access the more I think about it. While it can be a boon for business travelers and really important calls–I’ve been there myself–I don’t want to be stuck next to someone who’s yapping for four hours about how many toilet seats he needs to sell that week to make his quota.
Amtrak has been really successful with its quiet cars, and I wonder if the airlines will soon institute no-talking aisles. Though ironically, it’s probably the entire Business Class cabins, where travelers most value the quieter space, that will be using their phones the most.
Good news for new parents traveling with babies: You may no longer be the most dreaded seat-mates on the plane. –Liz
Learn more about in-flight texting and talking from the GoGo Text & Talk site which will launch in January 2014. The service will work on iPhone 4 and higher, and select Android devices.