Free Wifi for the Holidays is Back (with a lot more widespread availability than last year)

Airtran, Delta, and Virgin America are teaming up with Google to offer free wifi onboard from November 20 through January 2nd.

These are among the most wifi-enabled carriers (I believe Airtran’s entire fleet is fully equipped) and the price is certainly right. I’ve come to value the connectivity tremendously, especially on long flights. At four and a half hours I thought the advertised $20 on my Alaska Airlines flight on Friday would be worthwhile to buy myself back some extra productivity. It was a pleasant surprise to see that I was actually only charged $5, even without Google subsidy!

Now, if they’d do corporate sponsorship year-round of free wifi I’d actually switch my web broswer to Google Chrome which this deal is supposed to be promoting.

Still, it’ll be interested to see when onboard wifi is free and presumably usage spikes whether the bandwidth is there to avoid significant degradations of service. Should be an interesting test.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Chrome has its drawbacks. There are a few websites it won’t load, for me one is LSU’s ticket marketplace for unused football season tickets. It also can’t reliably be set to open all new windows in tabs, the plugins it supports that claim to do this sometimes interfere with new windows loading properly, so you have to reprogram your mind to click all pops with the middle mouse button if you don’t want new windows. Also, some plugins are ie/firefox only so you can’t watch certain videos etc. It’s fast but you still end up needing firefox often. Google giving away free stuff is good though. They should add airport wifi.

  2. I actually thought your title was a bit misleading. Yes, there is more availability ONBOARD the plane, but Google is not providing the service in airports this year. So, in my view, there is significantly LESS availability.

  3. The number of websites that don’t load properly with Chrome is rapidly diminishing, as it is on its way to becoming the second most dominant browser (Firefox is now losing share). Also, every browser has some sites that won’t play nicely. Last, the sites that won’t play nicely with Chrome aren’t Chrome’s fault – it is the most standards-compliant browser. Sites that work with IE and not with Chrome, for example, often are this way because they are designed improperly for a dying dinosaur.

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