On Thursdays, I share my thoughts on Finances.
Yesterday's USA Today article entitled AirTran's in-flight Wi-Fi service takes off with test flight caught my eye. Who among us hasn't bemoaned the hours stuck on an airplane without a wireless connection as a complete "waste" of three, four, or even a dozen hours?
I don't know why I would have expected airlines to be giving wireless connnectivity away, but for some reason the $12.95 price ($9.95 for flights less than 3 hours in duration) shocked me. Is it worth $13 to be able to get online during a flight, check email, and perhaps get caught up on a few blog posts?
I suspect it depends upon whose paying the bill. For those corporate employees with expense accounts, it seems like a no brainer - get online, remain connected, and don't lose half of your workday. But for those of us who work @ home, we need to ask ourselves the cost benefit ratio of plunking down that money and how productive we plan to be with that time.
I have used recent flights to review books submitted to me, to edit my own manuscript, or even to watch a movie onboard and write a review of it for one of my websites. The time offline doesn't have to be a time dump if you plan ahead and bring work with you that can be done without an internet connection. I also wonder if Air Tran's pricetag includes wifi while at the gate, where one could frequently spend multiple hours waiting for take off. In certain instances, if that were included in the price, I might -- on occasion -- invest in the price of on-board wifi.
Will you pay the price airlines are asking for a few added hours of productivity? I'm not sold...yet.