Wifi: Wi We Fli

After reading Jessica’s blog post about Smart-er Cars and how a component of that is wifi, I immediately jumped to planes.


The first time I got on a plane with wifi was going from Charlotte to LaGuardia airport. While texting every possible person and looking at Instagram for the last time before turning my phone off aboard the plane, I suddenly heard the word “WIFI.”

Of course I wasn’t listening to the flight attendants security brief so there was a huge possibility that I had heard her wrong. I turned to the stranger beside me, aka the only 300 lbs man on the plane eating Cheetos and wearing a Led Zepplin t-shirt (because why would it ever be a normal person, celebrity, or attractive male), and asked him if I heard the flight attendant correctly.

Never putting down his SkyMall magazine, he responded, “Um….yea…..duh…”

OK. True story. First of all, HOW was I supposed to know they all of a sudden they had wifi on planes. And also, how was he not as surprised as I was!? This was a huge deal!!

So anyways, once the flight attendant told the cabin it was ok to turn on our wireless devices, I got on SnapChat faster than white on rice. Faster than the flush on the airplane toilet. Faster than we change the subject when our parents bring up grades.

It turns out airplane wifi isn’t really that new. Yes it just came to planes 3-4 years ago, but the making and reforming of it has been happening for years.

There are many types of wifi and each differing in how the signal gets on the plane by antenna, ground, etc.

Airlines are also continuously upgrading and trading wifi services in competition to get the fastest wifi in the “air” business.

This is an interesting concept because I wonder what will happen next. Will wifi eventually plateau…and then what? Will planes continue to improve or get “smart-er” just as Jessica says cars do? Will the new network neutrality stop planes wifi progress? Will network neutrality affect this at all?

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