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Friday, January 3, 2014

How Can Airplanes Allow WiFi Use?

 Last weekend I flew to Chicago to visit my son. It was a new experience on a flight for a few reasons. None of the reasons had to do with weather although it was an issue this weekend.

For Christmas I got a GoGo Pillow for my iPad.
It actually fits all sorts of tablets (kindle, nook, android, mini ipad, regular ipad, etc...) The thing about it is that the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) rules have changed so that you can use small devices on the plane even on take off. They still ask that you put away your laptop because it is big. If you want to pay you can even be online while FLYING!  Since I am not a Geek, I don't really know HOW they do that. From what I have read you are connecting to a WiFi that is on the plane, but you cannot use other Internet Connections or use your phone. 

What you CAN do is connect to your email online, so that you send and receive right away. You can stream a video or TV show from the Internet to watch rather than have to take up space downloading it to your device first. You can just look up things on the Internet (maybe plan your trip or shop!) while on the plane. Our airline was offering TV shows and movies that you could purchase and watch through your device for a small amount (99 cents for a TV show). This was on a 3 hour flight where there is usually no entertainment (except for the flight attendents reading the rules).

They ask that during the take off and landing that your device (iPhone, Kindle, etc...) is in Airplane Mode. That means that you have chosen the setting where your device cannot try to connect (ping) during that time. Laptops and devices are always sending out messages to see what else is around them. Even if you are not going to get onto the Internet your computer can see what options are available. 

So, what did I do? Well, it may sound boring, but it did make the time go fast. I set my iPad up on the GoGo Pillow so that I could see it easily. Then I played Candy Crush Saga, Solitaire, and Angry Birds Star Wars. No one told me to put it away when taking off or landing!  I did check out connecting to the plane's wifi and decided I didn't want to spend any extra money to be online. 

After several hours in the airport with a flight delay because of weather I was pretty brain dead, so this was all I could do at the time!  Also, take offs and landings are times when I want to be occupied with something other than noticing how well things are going. iPad games are really good for that!

I also liked using my Gogo Pillow to as an iPad case. I don't think that all tablets will fit, but anything the same size or smaller than an iPad 2 will fit inside the zippered area.  It is pretty cool.


Extra Bonus Information:  How to put your iPad or iPhone into Airplane Mode. On the HOME screen choose the Settings icon. The first thing you see when you get there is Airplane Mode on the left side. Just click the slider and it will turn green. That shows that Airplane mode is on. As long as this is set you will not be able to connect to the WiFi at all.

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