Last Friday I flew on Delta to Florida and back up on Southwest Sunday morning. Neither plane had a video screen, both had an option to purchase Wi-Fi for the flight. Neither airline made me happy. I do appreciate the low prices generally offered by airlines and have written about the idea that airline costs are lower than they were 30 years ago. But costs are going up and services continue to be taken away.
I haven’t yet gone out of my way to fly only Jet Blue, which has had free Wi-Fi on its flights for nearly two years. But I am starting to think about it. Be assured that I won’t cut off my nose to spite my face as the saying goes, by paying more on a non-Jet Blue flight than the cost of Wi-Fi.
Airlines continue to find new an unusual ways to generate additional revenue. Like charging $15 for early access overhead bin space. You have Frontier Airlines in 2014 to thank for that. United this week reported that overhead bin space was being increased and that now you would pay $15 for it.
Not having video screens on planes is fine as that helps the airlines keep costs (fuel and system maintenance) down. But ALL planes should be equipped with Free Wi-Fi. No it’s not an inalienable right, but it should be standard. And at the same time it mollifies the passengers and keeps them quiet. Planes have never been quieter since nearly everyone is wearing headphones and watching something. Yes some still read but they’re quiet too!
When Jet Blue launched its Free Wi-Fi I posted that it was a smart move and would have to be followed by the other airlines. Nearly two years later I am amazed that this hasn’t yet occurred. Eventually all will feature Free Wi-Fi as the world and airline passengers will demand it.
When first boarding the plane this past weekend, I did not notice Wi-Fi being available and noticing that there no screens I started to think that I was flying back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Those were the days of dumb flights. And free but lousy food service. So at least Wi-Fi was offered and there was ‘Free’ content provided by the airline in the form of movies and TV shows etc.. But why both airlines were compelled to charge $8, (or more) for Wi-Fi still mystifies me.