Via The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2008:
…On these Internet-equipped planes, any passenger with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop — or a cellphone with Wi-Fi — will be able to do almost everything he or she could do online at home or at the office. That includes surfing the Web, using email, having instant-messenger text chats, downloading and uploading files, and streaming video and audio.
In fact, I did all these things a few days ago on a test flight using the new system, called Gogo. During the flight from San Francisco to Denver, on a small test jet, I could operate online as if I were sitting at my desk, or in a Starbucks. I used Dell (DELL) and Apple (AAPL) laptops, a BlackBerry (RIMM), a Windows Mobile phone and an iPhone to perform all the most common online tasks, while soaring over majestic mountains and glorious national parks.
I sent and received emails on Microsoft (MSFT) Outlook and Apple Mail, including messages with hefty attachments. I conducted IM chats on AOL (TWX) Instant Messenger and Google (GOOG) Talk. Using all the major Web browsers, I called up dozens of Web sites, and watched video clips on Hulu and YouTube. I downloaded photos, songs, PDF files and Microsoft Office documents. I used all the Internet functions on the iPhone, and on the Wi-Fi-equipped BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phone…
…The companies say Gogo is safe and won’t interfere with the plane’s operation. It is government-approved, and pilots can shut the system off should they deem it necessary.
Gogo has some limitations. The service plans to allocate its capacity so that low-bandwidth activities like Web surfing and email take priority over high-bandwidth ones like streaming video. That means you may find video to be slow and halting.
And Gogo is a North American, land-based service only. It won’t work over the oceans and, for now, it won’t work on other continents.
But for U.S. travelers who want to stay connected in the air, Gogo does the job.