Online at 30,000 Feet? Welcome to the World Wide Mile High Club


Delta-a-GoGo: Wi-Fi in the Sky – Good, Bad, Right, Wrong? It’s Here

When I first read about Delta’s plans to add wi-fi networking on some flights I was appalled. Under no circumstances did I want this one last bastion of freedom from emails to escape my personal dead zone. I truly enjoyed my twice-weekly vacation from the Internet, and I’ve always used this time wisely. Generally, I read, listen to music, read and listen to music, or work on various documents offline (and listen to music).

Today, at 9:14 AM I boarded a Tampa-bound flight in Atlanta and heard the terrifying announcement that Delta was launching a new service on this flight, GoGo (or is it Gogo?): a wireless Internet service for flyers. No way was I falling for this invasion of privacy. I’m too strong; too focused.

My Transition to the Dark Side: A Timeline

9:42:08 AM EST – The lead Delta Flight Attendant announces that Delta is proud to offer wireless Internet access on today’s flight. I find myself offended by the very thought and I decide that there is no price low enough to temp me to interrupt my Internet-free time with a Mile High Web Surf. I decide to stand firm: No Sky-High Wi-Fi for me.

9:42:25 AM EST – The lead Delta Flight Attendant further explains that there is a forty percent discount available for anyone wanting to try the GoGo (or is it go-go?) Wi-Fi today. While I despise the idea of working online at 30,000 feet, I hate the idea of missing a discount even more. (To learn why I hate missing discounts, read Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely – the third to the last book I read on a plane before this latest attempt to ensure I occupy 100% of my time on the Internet.)

9:42:26 AM EST – 40% off? I’m sold; let’s give this whole Web 2.0 a run for its money.

9:51 AM EST – After an excruciatingly long nine minutes since hearing of the forty percent discount offer, the plane is finally above 10,000 feet and we are free to use our approved electronic devices. A list of approved electronic devices can be found in the Delta Sky magazine located in the seat pocket in front of me. I release my laptop from its case in record time.

9:51:12 AM EST – I wonder why it takes so long to boot up my laptop. Could it be the altitude?

9:54 AM EST – After a brief enrollment in GoGo (or is it gogo?) that included offering up my Amex number, I am off and surfing.

9:55 AM EST – First, I attack Outlook and feverishly drive through the thirty or so emails that have accumulated in the forty-nine minutes since I last shut down.

9:56 AM EST – Hey, there’s the receipt from GoGo (or is it GOGO?) in my inbox.

10:03 AM EST – I click through on a balance reminder email from American Express and spend the next couple of minutes verifying my charges for the last week. Did I really spend $238.62 at CostCo on Saturday? How many four-gallon cans of pork ‘n beans can one family eat?

10:09 AM EST – I’m on reading, Digging, and re-Shouting a Digg “Shout” for a blog post from a great sales writer, Skip Anderson. (The post is titled Selling Yourself for Success and it deserves your attention.) I wonder to myself if Skip has a clue that someone is reading his post five and a half miles above Florida.

10:14 AM EST – I’ve run through my original inbox messages and now find myself replying to the replies of those messages. I am in Internet Heaven: I have discovered approximately one hundred fifty-two minutes each week during which I previously had no Internet access.

10:17 AM EST – An instant message pops in from a coworker using Yahoo! Messenger. Weird – it feels like they’re invading my personal space; like they’re standing in my bedroom or something. After a brief hesitation, I answer uncomfortably. I feel a little ashamed that I’m online at 30,000 feet, so I don’t bother to tell them.

10:26 AM EST – I’m reading Google News. It seems the Golden Globes were televised last night. Hmm, I wasn’t aware. Not sure I missed much, to be honest.

10:31 AM EST – The markets have been open for more than an hour, so I check my stock positions at Even though my portfolio has not recovered in the forty-two minutes since we departed the gate, this Internet-in-the-air is starting to feel really, really good.

10:34 AM EST – Back to email. My inbox seems to fill quickest when I’m out of the office.

10:41 AM EST – I’m looking at my blog,, and admiring the cool post I wrote on New Year’s Eve. (I’ve had two drinks, and I think I’m feeling a little too good about my writing.)

10:43 AM EST – Back to email. Don’t these crazy @$#&?!s know I’m on an airplane?

10:49:03 AM EST – Are you kidding me? We’re landing already? Just thirty seconds more and then I’ll shut down, okay?

10:49:22 AM EST – Oh, you’re serious? I have to shut down now? The flight attendant is explaining some crazy rule about 10,000 feet or something.

10:50:12 AM EST – After learning about the possible Federal penalties that can be assessed on someone who disobeys the instructions of a member of the flight crew (flight attendants are members of the flight crew?); I decide it’s best to shut down the laptop and the accompanying wi-fi Internet access.

I’m In – Count Me Among the Mile High Club of Web Access

Sold. Charge me whatever you want, GoGo (or is it gOgO?), and I’ll pay it. I want my Internet access 24/7, and I was only fooling myself when I assumed I was happiest on a plane, insulated from the online world.