Buy the Inflight Wi-Fi…on the Ground

Around 2009, I began noticing Wi-Fi on more and more flights, especially on transcontinental flights between New York and Los Angeles. Regardless of the airline I flew, such as American, United, or Virgin America, the service would always be provided by Gogo Inflight. The price varied, especially as the product got off the ground—so to speak. One could score promo codes fairly easily or buy a pass before a flight to get a discount. In 2010, Gogo offered prepaid multipacks, and I bought a six-pack that I used over the years. The price was always about $10-12 for an entire flight. On a six-hour westbound flight to California, it was worth the price to get a lot of work done.

A few days ago, I knew that I had a lot work to do on today’s flight to LA, and I looked into getting online for the flight. From the looks of things, the best option for me was the $16 day pass.

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But as far as I could tell, there was not any discount for buying a pass in advance so I held off and waited to buy one in the air. After all, all-day passes bought online were about $15 a few years ago and buying in advance cost saved only about three dollars or so.

That proved to be a rookie mistake. Buying an all-day pass in the air costs a sky-high $34, compared to the $16 it costs on the ground.

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I recognize that this was the ultimate first-world problem—that it cost $18 more to buy inflight Wi-Fi in the air as it did on the ground. But to me, it was steep enough to do some offline work and wait until I got on the ground, at a fussy coffee shop near downtown Los Angeles, to get online and do my work.

Didn’t Louis CK do a bit about airline passengers belly aching over inflight Wi-Fi?

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