An open letter to Gogo In-Flight and Southwest Airlines

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Travel | No Comments

Reader’s Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, Jay did get his Gogo Internet working a couple of hours in flight after penning this post. But it was a God-awful experience he wouldn’t wish on anyone else (plus the connection was extremely slowwwwwwwww…) so he’s decided to let ‘er fly (no pun intended). The last part of this post, Jay still fully believes, for the record.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE BLEAK DESERT, Nev.–Gogo In-Air Internet, how can I fully extol your complete and total worthlessness to me? Here I am, 39,000 feet above the aforementioned bleak Nevada desert on my AirTran Flight 610 from San Francisco to Atlanta, and you leave me at the virtual altar to fend for myself, devoid of digital distraction?

Now to be fair, I gave you a chance. I saw your “wi-fi available” splash screen on my iPad 4 and, much like in the desert, saw a mirage that was too good to be true. Sadly, and predictably, the cyber wedgie was nearby, ready to collect ten American dollars from me for an HOUR of Internet play (or $20 for three, one bonus hour included … how thoughtful!). And I would have gladly been your do-boy and paid you for my place at the bandwidth buffet.

But here’s where your true lack of worth shone through. And maybe Apple Inc. has to share some of this blame, but you’re a brighter target at the moment, so I’ll take aim accordingly. I selected your pound-me-in-the-you-know-what $20 option, then arrived at that inevitable screen where you enter your credentials. Try as try I did with my Kensington Bluetooth keyboard for nearly 30 minutes, nothing I entered on that keyboard would register. And even after I switched off the Bluetooth in favor of the “soft” keyboard on the iPad screen, the softness never materialized on your web page. My keystrokes, full of potential and fervor (not to mention tantalizing payment information you might find valuable) instead fell empty, invisible, ineffective, limp. Never mind that every other app I used on my iPad to that point registered my Bluetooth keystrokes with giddy anticipation. It’s the only way I am writing this rant, after all, on my Pages app.

So Gogo, please know that I WANTED you to take advantage of me. I had my Discover card number, expiration date and even that annoying three-digit security code, ready to entrust to your cha-chingingness. All because I wanted that connectivity all human beings want … but wasn’t willing to turn to my seat mate to find it. And like the desert not too far below, you and your inane web page left me high and dry of those just-out-of-reach delights. Maybe you should take this up with Apple, but figure it out so I can get my fix already.

And to you, Southwest Airlines, I offer this: Now that you supposedly own AirTran Airways, I highly recommend you apply your $8 unlimited Internet in-flight service over the Gogo in-flight pirates your acquired darling favors. Granted, I understand that your systems have not been fully consolidated yet, and very well may never be. But in terms of a customer service perk for us wired customers, it should be a priority of your merger. If you keep me online, I might overlook some other potential holes in your customer service. Just sayin’.

What ticks YOU off in the “friendly skies”? Let ‘er rip in the comments!