Beware the double-edged sword of 'Free'
Last year, Google won the love of holiday travellers nationwide by offering free WiFi on a number of winter flights. Now Google has sent out a press release announcing the launch of another WiFi bonanza. They have made an agreement with Delta, AirTran and Virgin America to give free Gogo Inflight WiFi on every domestic flight this season.
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The free WiFi will last from November 20, 2010 to January 2, 2011. You can read more about the deal right here. The Chrome browser is not required to access your free connection. It's worth noting that this free WiFi is unlikely to be of very high quality.
As nice as these deals are, I've used GoGo Inflight WiFi before, both free and for pay. When I had to shell out cash, it was a decent connection. Not enough to torrent or play an online game, but I could stream Hulu (if I didn't mind buffering every few minutes) and had reasonably fast browsing and email access.
When the WiFi is free though, everyone and their grandmother opts to take advantage of it. All the laptops and smartphones and MIDs and tablets in the airplane flip open and hop online. Bandwidth slows to a crawl, and getting Gmail to refresh takes most of the distance from Denver to Dallas.
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My advice to you? If you plan to fly on an airline represented by this deal, get a real early flight. Like, 6-7 AM early. The less people in the air, the less competition for free bandwidth there will be. Also, you can totally get extra wine if you're nice enough to the stewardess.