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GoGo's Wi-Fi in-flight is integrated and works

Why is In-Flight Wi-Fi Almost Always Problematic? Whenever I take a commercial flight, I sign up for GoGo WiFi – and every time I'm disappointed with something. My experience last week on Delta was no exception.

After takeoff, I had wrong to connect my iPhone.I abandoned my MacBook and I managed to connect, I did it … Or so I thought.

First things first. I connected with my wife using text messaging. It worked. Something makes me feel good to connect with the one you love when you're in the sky, millions of miles away. I did not have phone service, but at least I was in touch with the text. Then I went to work – and suddenly hit a brick wall again.

Stuck in the cloud

I could both text and surf the web – slowly, but it was feasible. However, I was unable to access the e-mail. I wanted to catch up on the new messages I had received in the last few hours, so I clicked on Get Mail, waited for and hoped for. After about 30 minutes, I was still there, waiting and hoping.

A handful of downloads, but most of my unread messages were stuck in the cloud. As I looked out the window, I thought, hey, there is – the cloud. It was big and white and fluffy. What a pretty cloud. For all the good that he did to me, my e-mails could have been able to circulate there as well.

I got out of there and I took another look at my email download status – still stuck. I have closed the email and have reopened it several times, hoping for the best. When my MacBook mail application freezes in the field, it still works. But it never works in the air.

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Then I completely stopped and restarted my MacBook. Again, I hit Get Mail. Click on. I waited, and waited, and waited. I always had the same problem. It was so frustrating. The Delta flight attendant guy brought me another cup of Starbucks, which usually helps – but not so much as time.

Who is to blame?

Who was to blame? GoGo, Delta or me? The flight was perfect except for WiFi. The unreliable service may or may not have been Delta's fault, but his reputation took a hit with me anyway.

I could better understand the problem when WiFi in flight was in its infancy. It was new. Companies like GoGo had to prove themselves. Well, it's been years – and the kinks are still there, in the center of the stage!

I had trouble getting a reliable connection for two hours – until the pilot announced that we were approaching. OK, it was time to put away all our technological gadgets! Sure. Pack it. All I had done was fight to log in.

Today, we use wireless everywhere. It means we have to be connected everywhere. With each passing year, connectivity should become easier. I want GoGo's WiFi WiFi service, but there are still too many problems. I hope that one day it will get better and better.

GoGo is a Crapshoot

GoGo has let me connect to my darling and surf the web. However, I had wanted to attend my many unread emails, and I could not access them. I was thinking in advance – would GoGo work better on my return flight? I could only hope and pray. Is this really the way GoGo wants customers to see its brand? Just hoping to get lucky?

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In fact, on my return flight, GoGo worked very well on my iPhone. Imagine that. I was happy to have been able to log in for this leg of the trip. It was better than nothing, but GoGo should offer customers more than a slim hope.

Jeff Kagan has been a columnist for the ECT News Network since 2010. He focuses on the wireless and telecommunications industries. He is an independent
analyst, consultant and speaker.
Email Jeff.