As you might be already aware of that the low-cost airline JetBlue has equipped one of its Airbus A320 planes with an on board wireless network to give passengers access to the companies’ e-mail and instant messaging functions while in the air.
JetBlue is the first domestic carrier to test it with their new BetaBlue airplane. Passengers with WiFi-enabled laptops or Blackberry devices on the plane can connect for free to the on-board wireless network. Once connected, they can communicate with friends, family and colleagues on the ground using customized versions of both Yahoo! Messenger for the Web and Yahoo! Mail.
After signing into Yahoo! Messenger you will see which of your Yahoo! or Live Messenger friends are online. You can send them instant messages. Even if a friend isn’t online, you can use the built in SMS feature to send a text message right to their mobile phone. If they reply back, you get it right in Yahoo! Messenger.
A few special status messages that let your friends know you’re flying high with JetBlue. “Head in the clouds – seriously”, “Sleeping on the Plane” and “Ugh! Crying baby on flight” are just a few. Or choose “Custom Message…” and get creative.
When your status is set to one of the flight-specific messages, your friends will see your airborne status and be able to click on it, where they can view your flight location and status in real-time. (Credit : Yahoo!)
JetBlue’s BetaBlue plane is the first to offer these free services to its passengers. While you can’t specifically request the BetaBlue plane for your next JetBlue journey, be sure to keep your laptop handy the next you fly with them. You might just get a chance to try out Yahoo! Messenger from 30,000 feet in the air. Passengers won’t be able to surf the full Web. BlackBerry owners who have Wi-Fi-enabled handsets will be able to access their personal and corporate e-mail. BlackBerry models that have only cellular connections rather than Wi-Fi won’t be compatible.
Whether or not the airlines charge for WiFi, there is a cost, and that cost is likely to be passed onto consumers in one form or another. Well, I would love free WiFi on planes, but I think charging a small amount for those who choose to use it would be fair. Other problems which users faced were the power outlets, simultaneous wi-fi access and battery recharging. In the coming time hopefully those issues will get resolved.