There is nothing worse than being couped up in a tight airplane seat with nothing to do. If you’re lucky enough to have an in-flight movie, there is a 90% chance it will star the Olsen twins. And your choice in reading materials range between the Airplane Safety Instructions, SkyMall, and … SkyMall. If I buy another ramp or staircase made for dogs, I’m going to have to get a dog.
Finally, there is another option; something never before possible. Airlines have started introducing in-flight wi-fi. For the ‘low’ price of about $10 for flights under 3 hours long and $13 for longer flights, your laptop or smart phone can surf the web while you are 30,000 feet in the sky. Using cellular towers, this air-to-ground connection can deliver speeds comparable to DSL modems.
For publishers going digital, all this means is that there is yet one more place that your readers will always have access to your work. It may not seem like a large change but more than anything it is evidence that the world is continuing to adapt into a digital atmosphere. For the first time your audience will have the potential to read your magazine and do their Christmas shopping in your catalogs while they are miles above the ground.
Virgin Airlines, Southwest, United, Delta, and American have all started integrating this technology into select airplanes. It would be nice if the wi-fi feature was complimentary, but in a time where it costs extra money to check your bags that is obviously not likely.
Paying or not, a very recent study shows that 76% of frequent fliers said they’d switch flights in order to have access to wi-fi. This service seems like a no-brainer for people constantly traveling for business, but it will also be glorious for anyone looking for alternative entertainment options. It’s sad, but I think internet is the only up-charge I could talk myself into paying on an airplane. The ability to read a digital magazine while chatting with friends on Facebook would be justification enough for me to fork out the cash.