Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alaska Air WIFI challenges continue

Tech Flash is reporting that Alaska's WIFI service is popular but pricing issues remain. They say Alaska's fee is likely to be $15 per flight which I fear will prevent most users from taking advantage of the service. Although $15 does not seem to be excessive, budget conscious flyers will recognize that a few hours away from the internet won't do them any harm. I'd argue the optimal "price point" for in flight online services is somewhere between $5 and $10 which are still very high by the standard of free WIFI now available in many airports but represent a premium cost that consumers are "comfortable with" in flight as this is in the neighborhood of the cost of a snack box s and even on some flights beverages.

If the Airlines don't hurry up I think this market could literally dry up as ubiquitous broadband reaches most areas in the USA and customers choose to take a nap rather than worry about the few hours of non-connectivity between the WIFI at home, the Airport, and the destination hotel combined with their EVDO or broadband smartphone access.