Blogging Live From 29,000 Ft -- Southwest Airlines Brings Internet to the Masses

08/19/2010 06:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We're passing 20,000 feet right now, and for just $3.00 for my 90 minute trip from Baltimore to Boston, Southwest Airlines' affordable Internet in the air is taking the web orbital for the masses.

Sure, a few airlines have had web connections in the air, but most have been pricey and slow. Put in some basic personal information, then it tells you how much the cost of the web on the ride will be. Enter your credit card information and you're surfing the web faster than you've ever done before, physically, even if the connection is about the same as an afternoon at Starbucks.

They recommend that you don't try to download your favorite season of "24," and I wouldn't recommend some of the streaming video software out there for this kind of application, but it loads up small audio and video files just fine.

My YouTube test, running the compliation of "Trunk Monkey" commercials loaded up better and faster than my AT&T connection at home. When a hundred more people are doing this, though, I am not sure how well it will work. I listened to some of Jazz Lost and Found at the New York Times Interactive and it was very responsive.

The majority of people will use it to check mail, check in with facebook, download or upload a thing or two for work, and maybe even browse the Huffington Post. AIM's chat works well, although I haven't tried the video feature, and TweetDeck seems to work better up here than it does on the ground.

While log in on my FireFox 3.6.8 (Mac) browser was not happening, Apple's Safari browser lit up right away and let me log in. Both worked once we got past the log in, but that is what keeps IT guys at places like Southwest employed.

Great service is wonderful, but, it is that low low price that will allow the average person traveling to experience the wonders of the web mid-air on pretty much any device.
The header at the top (Does not work on FireFox) gives you your altitude and time remaining in the flight. I have about 36 minutes more to finish this up and proof it, I see.

On the 10 scale, for service and price Southwest lands a big 10 for their Internet roll out. FireFox needs a tweak to enter this Brave New World, if anyone from Mozilla is reading.

My shiny two.