IM'ing From 30,000 Feet

from the sign-me-up dept

While many companies have put internet-in-the-sky plans on hold for a while, and others have started removing back-of-the-seat air phones, it seems that some innovation might actually be showing up via those phones. Verizon Airfone is letting passengers on some flights access instant messaging services via the phone, as well as some basic news, weather, sports, and stock info. The user has to hook up their laptop to the phone, and then they have to use Verizon’s own IM program – but apparently it works with all the major IM systems. With any in-flight service, the question is always about what ridiculous amount they’re going to charge – but in this case they’re aiming for $5 – $10 per flight, which doesn’t seem that crazy. I’m curious, though, how exactly it works. If you can use regular IM products, then why doesn’t it allow full internet access? It says that the news and other info is updated every 15 minutes, so I’m wondering if your instant messages only get sent out every fifteen minutes as well.

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