Aug 302012
 August 30, 2012  Posted by at 1:52 pm Not So Stupid Questions  Add comments

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

Is there any wireless internet on this plane?

A different question today, but still an interesting one. I’m on my way to Bulgaria for a Telerik teambuilding and
I’m flying Air France. As soon as the the fasten the seatbelt signs went off I pulled out my computer to do some
work. I had re installed Windows 8 and forgotten to download my developer license and was unable to run any
of my WinRT projects. So I asked the flight attendant if they had wifi, and she laughed and said “well of course
not” like it was the most stupid question she had ever heard. I got the same reaction when I asked this question
on the train in Norway. But, the train to Stockholm from Gothenburg has, as well as t he long distance busses. I
ignored the flight attendants reaction, but she couldnt let this one go. “I have never heard of such a thing, no
airplanes have internet!” I answered “Some do”. Now she started insisting “No, no planes have. Internet a plane
is not possible”she laughed again and sent a ‘this one is a nut head’-look to the guy sitting next to me. “As I said,
some do”. “Which one?” she challenged me. Well I wasnt making it up, Norwegian has on almost all their
airplanes, except one or two I believe. “Norwegian? I’ve never heard of it” . Well, then I guess it doesnt exist!- I
was tempted to say. Hope she googles it later and does an attitude check.

This got me curious, how many planes, trains and busses have internet? Since I have good global coverage with
readers I would like to pass this question you:

Where have you travelled and what kind of transportation, and was there any internet available provided by the

  13 Responses to “Stupid question 34: Is there any wireless internet on this plane?”

  1. It would almost be worth suffering the legal consequences after you punch her in the head.

    The longer flights I’ve had in the US have on-board wifi that doesn’t work until the plane reaches 10,000 feet. It costs around $12 for access for the entire leg of the flight, and you can sign up before or during the flight. I can’t speak for international since I haven’t flown out of the country since 1985.

    • LOL “It would almost be worth suffering the legal consequences after you punch her in the head.” I’ll keep that in mind on my way back!

  2. I know certain flights in Canada-USA provide satellite wifi, like Delta and Virgin am. Especially Seattle flights are populair with wifi. But here in the Netherlands they also don’t offer it 🙁

  3. Some in the US do. and Delta airlines do. It only has recently been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Chicago is planning on adding wifi to its commuter trains as well as outlets to charge electronic devices.

  4. Last flight with Brittish Airways, free wifi in business class… From Seattle to London… And the seats were just great

  5. That flight attendant should keep herself up-to-date..
    As you can see below, Turkish Airlines have several Boings with in-flight wi-fi service.. (Not only in business, but also in economy)

    I have experienced it one time when I was flying from Shanghai to Istanbul..

  6. On my last flights with Emirates from Zurich via Dubai to Cape Town there was WiFi on the first leg from Zurich to Dubai (I think it was an Airbus 330) but there was no WiFi on the second leg to Cape Town (slightly older plane, B-767 if my memory serves me right). The same on the way back.
    I didn’t get to actually using the WiFi as I only travelled light ( just my Windows Phone ) and the Netbook had to travel in the suitcase.

    PS: Your achievements are very inspiring. Keep up the good spirits and effort in becoming an excellent software engineer. I can confirm though, that after 20 odd years you can get near burn out..( as a previous comment pointed out)

  7. Well the buss I travel with for a hour every day, you know which one have Wifi even, and thats just a standard line buss, oh and it’s free 😛

  8. I don’t fly much, but when I do I use JetBlue. They’re on their way with having inflight Wi-Fi a standard by the end of the year. Their signal comes from satellite (of course).


  9. Many US flights have internet. Even my quick little hour long flight from San Jose to Orange County had it yesterday. I am surprised that the stewardess was so uninformed.

  10. The stupid thing isn’t the question in itself. It’s the common assumption that just because it’s possible it’s implemented everywhere. That is simply not the case. There is also the red tape thing with everything used in air planes. As Craig pointed out above, on board WiFi has only recently been approved by FAA. I would like to know what the situation is on all the destinations Air France fly to, using that particular make and batch of airliner, before calling them stupid or backwards or anything like that.

    Yes, that flight attendant could have had a more humble approach to the question. But I suspect she had been given that information by her employer. Face it, Her job is not to be up to date with the latest and greatest interesting technology used by readers of this blog. Her job is to attend to flight passengers. How many of us would know how to do an even half decent job of that? And again, yes, the flight attendant should have had a more humble approach. As should some readers of this blog.

    Now to Iris’s question. I have not been aboard an airliner for several years so my experience there is outdated. I have travelled by train in Sweden and the major train operators there can provide Internet for a fee, on the high profile connections, but Iris already stated that. I commute by driving in my own car so I don’t provide Internet to myself there. That is mostly a policy decision.

    Fly safe.

  11. Unfortunately in-flight Wifi is uncommon in my part of the world (Australia).

    Virgin Atlantic (2012): Sydney – Hong Kong – London, no wifi.
    British Airways (2010): Sydney – Bangkok – London, no wifi
    Emirates and Qantas (2010): Sydney – Christchurch, no wifi.
    Singapore Airlines (2006), Sydney – Singapore – London, … only one I’ve seen that had wifi. (Don’t recall the price, but it was expensive)

    No wifi on the Sydney – London routes doesn’t help the 23+ hours it takes to fly each way feel less.

    That said, the flight attendant should know better – even though there is no internet service, the plane is still connected back to the airline and aircraft manufacturer’s systems.

    For example, in 2010 one of Qantas’s Airbus A380 had a major engine problem after taking off from Singapore, and the Qantas and Airbus staff knew about it as it was happening, despite the pilots being busy trying to land the plane (which took several hours).

    It’s also possible for aircraft engineers to remotely update and tweak performance of the engine while it’s still running.

    (I realise having remote telemetry and remote engine configuration management isn’t the same as a full blown internet connection – but it demonstrates the ability to have two way data connections anywhere in the world)

  12. Just a few days ago, the Canadian government approved the general use of WiFi on domestic flights.

    Though a few airlines have offered the service on a handful of flights as part of a test program, it looks like it will take till end of 2013 for it to become common-place in Canada.

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