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December 11, 2009

Gogo, No Gogo

Filed under: Main — Tags: — Dan Gookin @ 12:01 am

Gleeful, I took the free access card and boarded the plane. For the first time ever, I was about to use the Internet onboard a flight. Or so I thought.

I experienced some high-tech breakthroughs as I recently returned from a trip across the country.

The first thing I noticed was that the “No Smoking” sign overhead, which has been on airplanes as long as I’ve flown, was no longer there. Replacing it was a sign that said, “Turn off Electronic Devices.”

Weird, but welcome.

On the next flight, I saw the “Wireless Internet” sign overhead. A placard in the seat pocket told me about the Gogo service being available for in-flight Internet access. (I wrote about it last post.)

I didn’t sign up on that flight. No, instead I wrote the blog post (linked to above) and then shut down the laptop to watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. (Now that was bizarre, dark film, which I say not having read any of the books and seen only the first two movies.)

At my last stop in Salt Lake City, the Gogo people were handing out free access cards. Why they have cute young girls doing that and not heavyset sweaty nerds is beyond me.

Once airborne, I fired up my laptop and tried to connect to Gogo. I was able to log in using the guest access pass. Everything went well, despite my having to cough up an email address, so now I’m the target of Gogo spam. I can live with that.

Sadly, I never got to browse anywhere. My first stop was Google, which never came up. Instead, I was always redirected back to Gogo’s main access page. Again and again. Over and over.

Frustrated, I tried using their chat-like tech support thing. I got to speak with “Jack” who told me that it was a common problem and that the solution was to reboot my computer.

Really?

I tried disconnecting and re-connecting. That didn’t work. Then I tried, as “Jack” suggested, to reboot.

Nope. No such luck. And besides, I was terribly low on laptop juice, so rather than mess around with Gogo and try to get on the Internet, I gave up and tried to get some sleep.

After I’d been home a while, I received a Gogo Customer Satisfaction Survey in my email inbox. With great delight I filled it in, explaining to them exactly what I’m writing in this blog post: Gogo sucks.

Well, maybe they don’t suck. But consider that I’ve used many services like Gogo, in hotel rooms and at convention centers. I’ve signed up for day passes. Never have I had a site restrict me to their own home page as Gogo did. Obviously the technology to do day-pass Internet access exists and works. Gogo hasn’t figured it out yet.

My advice: Save your money and listen to your iPod when you travel on a plane.

2 Comments

  1. I think your advice is the best thing to do. In my opinion, Internet access on the plane is pretty useless unless its a long flight (>= 4 hours). And in that case, I’d really like power outlets on them! But for now my entertainment is just listening to some music, watching on board movies, talking to people around me, and looking out the window.

    Comment by samus250 — December 13, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  2. I agree with the power outlet thing. I think in-flight Internet is just easier and cheaper for them to do. Obviously the airlines are merely hosting the service; to add outlets means upgrading jet hardware, which would be expensive.

    Still, I’ve got to wonder why anyone would crave Internet access up in the air. “Oh my! I must urgently update Facebook.”

    Comment by admin — December 13, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

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