There are plenty of ways to pass time on a plane during long flights, but making phone calls or using personal data plans aren't going to be one of them. Today, the Federal Communications Commission canceled plans to set rules that could have allowed in-flight voice and data services via passengers' personal phones — it only took seven years of hearing arguments from both sides. Read More
For those of you who haven't heard about it, PowerUp makes smartphone-controlled paper airplanes. They're relatively inexpensive, with a basic PowerUp 3.0 costing $24.99, and they work pretty well which has led to them becoming incredibly popular. The last time PowerUp used Kickstarter to launch a product, it closed on $1.2m after asking for only $50,000. This time around, the goal is just $25,000. It's not hard to see where this is going. Read More
Ajit Pai was appointed as the Federal Communications Commission's new chairman shortly after the election of President Donald Trump. As a self-described opponent of net neutrality, it came as little surprise when he closed the organization's investigation into zero-rating in February. Read More
A few years ago getting Internet access while on an airline flight seemed like magic. Now in the not-too-distant future, the connection in your plane might be faster than the one in your home. According to a press release issued by Virgin America, new technology from corporate partner ViaSat will improve its satellite Internet connection by a factor of five to ten times thanks to a next-generation satellite. The new technology offers speeds of up to 140 gigabits per second spread across the entire network, which should mean "8 to 10 times faster" speeds for individual users, enough for reliable music streaming and (maybe) some video. Read More
For a long time now, Southwest Airlines' Android app has been awful. I mean just lamentably bad. No, seriously, here are some screenshots of the app before today's update... and oddly, Southwest hasn't even updated the screenshots in the Play Store.
See? It's like someone got the only app developer from TWA to work on it. The app has been given a complete overhaul with today's update, bringing both the interface and the capability up to snuff. But as frequent US airline travelers will know, even when you get to fly first class, it's still a pretty crappy experience.
Yes, the interface has been updated to conform at least somewhat to current trends, if not Holo design guidelines. Read More
We've all been there: for 20 minutes during takeoff and landing, the cabin of an American airliner becomes a virtual Faraday cage as every passenger is told to turn off everything with a battery, from the latest Android superphones to the humble Game Boy. This practice has been heavily criticized in the last few years, and there's finally some real movement towards tossing it out the window. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Federal Aviation Administration advisory panel has recommended approving electronic devices for use during takeoff and landing, including WiFi data access.
Photo credit: Alex Pang
Current restrictions ban basically all consumer electronics devices from being used below an altitude of 10,000 feet for fear of interfering with the plane's electronic instrumentation. Read More
If you long for the sound of a Packard engine sputtering to life inside an aluminum death machine, you'll definitely want to check out Bombshells: Hell's Belles. But don't look for killer gams on the nose art: Glu Mobile's latest offers plenty of eye candy sitting right inside the cockpit. Bombshells is an air combat game in the vein of Crimson Skies or SkyDrift, with a definite slant towards cartoony, arcade-style gameplay rather than simulation. The game is a free download from the Google Play Store, and like most of Glu's offerings, it's supported by in-app purchases.
You play as one of three mercenaries whose piloting skills are matched only by their more personal assets. Read More
American Airlines began rolling out Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to premium cabins today, giving premium passengers innumerable ways to pass time on long flights. The initial rollout sounds quite impressive, covering select transcontinental and other domestic flights, and offering 70 movies on top of the Tab's numerous other entertainment options.
In addition to the rich entertainment experience provided by the Tab, First and Business Class customers will have access to Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones, which should drown out any distractions for a slightly more pleasant flight.
Overall the addition of the Tab to American's flights sounds great, but Rob Friedman, American's Vice President of Marketing, made sure to note that this is only one of many enhancements offered by American Airlines in a continuing effort to "modernize the travel experience," adding "today’s news is the latest in a series of investments we’ve made in our focus on product and service enhancements for our premium customers, and we know they will be delighted with the contemporary entertainment experience of the tablet." Read More