Flying High with WiFi

February 3, 2011


Flying High with WiFi

I have flown on many flights to and fro in the past 30 years and most are un-eventful and very boring. I particularly hate red-eye flights and that seems to be the normal flight plan when flying in or out of Anchorage, Alaska.

I am heading to Portland, Oregon this evening to attend a conference and to steal away a weekend with my wife, Michele. It is 1:25 in the morning on an Alaska Airlines flight.

Did I mention I can not sleep on planes either?

As I boarded the plane I spotted on side of the bird a huge logo with the familiar Wifi logo. Tired though I was a surge of adrenaline perked me up. This might not be a bad flight after all.

Alaska Air and many other airlines use GoGo service. Fact is, even though I was excited to try it I didn’t expect much. Slow service and horrible download/upload times.

Here is what is happening:

I settled in my seat (always an aisle if I can help it) and waited for the familiar instructions from the flight attendants. Or are they stewardesses? What do you call a guy flight waiter? We had one…

Anyway, after they de-iced the plane with that orange goop. we were taxiing down the runway and with in a few minutes the seatbelt lights went off and the lady said we could use our “approved” devices. I jumped up, grabbed my MacBook Pro and logged on to GoGo. I set up an account, whipped out my credit card and paid the $7.95. Cheaper than the handheld DVD players they rent on the plane.

The Wifi network was up and running and soon logged on to foursquare to earn my Mile High badge. Thats not one that a lot of folks have and it is easier to obtain that doing something you wouldn’t tell your kids about in a lavatory at 30,000 feet.

I began to browse around. First to Google and it popped up with amazing speed as well as logging on to Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo to check the “news.”

I have no idea how GoGo works but I assume it is cellular technology because it would be just too slow for data to travel to a satellite thousands of miles in space and back down in a matter of milli-seconds.

Meanwhile, back on the plane, my next attempt was to check out a movie on Netflix. I logged on to I entered into my instant queue and found a movie that I haven’t seen since I was a kid–The Deep. It seemed to load slow but no slower than at home with a relatively slow broadband connection in the Mat-Su Valley (Alaska). I will watch the flick after I finish this post.

I next booted up Skype and Yahoo Messenger, knowing that I would not be making a VoIP call since the lady is sound asleep next to me and everyone at home is in bed too but the service pulled up and I could send IM messages with no problem.

I am also sure there is some rule against making a phone call on my iPhone at 4 miles in the air. I don’t need TSA waiting for me when I land!

I will continue the rest of the trip checking out the movie I downloaded and give an update when I arrive at my destination.

In flight WiFi–What a way to fly!

UPDATE: Now I know why I haven’t seen the movie: The Deep since I was a kid. I can now recall that my dad and I saw it in a theater in Huntington, WV, when I was just a little tyke and he was so bored he was walking up and down the aisles!

Anyhow, I am now in Portland, my college town! I haven’t been here in almost 16 years! I  have to wait for Michele to arrive hours from now.

Tick, tock, tick, tock…

After attempting to sit thru The Deep I decided to watch an episode of Family Guy on Netflix using my iPad. GoGo allows you to use more than one device as long as you log off the primary (laptop) first. After that I checked a few email and then streamed Sirius Satellite Radio rocking to Hair Nation at full blast on my Bose.

For about 45 minutes while we flew over Canada, the GoGo service shuts down temporarily. The nifty map in the Alaska Air guide shows it only works in the United States.

Coffee People

We landed at 5:02. Almost 20 minutes early and have to say that this was the most enjoybale red-eye I have taken. I didnt sleep a wink so I high-taled it to the Coffee People stand and grabbed a Slamahamma which is the bomb! It is a mexican coffee with cinnamon and 30% espresso. That should do the trick!

More to come…

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works | Daily Post


Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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  1. Red Eye Nightmare | Robert Forto - March 27, 2011

    […] [Rewind: Flying High with WiFi] […]

  2. Foursquare vs. Gowalla | Robert Forto - June 1, 2011

    […] [Read more: Flying high with WiFi] […]

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