Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pillow Talk

JetBlue Airways announced yesterday it plans to sell pillows and blankets to passengers. For only $7.00. And you can take them with you, which raises a question. I'm sure you'll be allowed to bring your previously purchased pillow and blanket on another JetBlue flight, but what if you took them on another airline? Would they be considered carry-ons? One or two carry-ons? If you already have a conventional carry-on will you be charged extra? In this game one thing always leads to another and nothing ever seems to be clear - or free, for that matter.

For instance; Delta Air Lines announced this week it will offer broadband wireless Internet access on its entire domestic mainline fleet by the middle of next year. Wi-Fi service will be offered for a fee to Delta customers traveling throughout the continental United States.

Delta is partnering with Aircell, an airborne communications provider, to install the network on Delta's domestic fleet of more than 330 aircraft. The system will allow Delta customers with laptops, smartphones and hand-held devices to access the internet while in flight. As long as you are cruising at 10,000 ft or above.

Did you notice the operative words in paragraph two are "for a fee?" Not free, folks. A flat fee of $9.95 will be charged on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours. Delta needs to be a bit more specific as to what it considers a hand-held device. You wouldn't want to be charged for using your slide rule above 10,000 ft. It's a hand-held computing device, isn't it? And what if you are using your laptop to write a Word document off-line? You're not on the internet. Will Delta have the cabin attendants monitor passenger internet or non-internet usage of lap top computers? The L.T.C. police, as it were? When will you fork over your $9.99 or $12.95? At the ticket counter before departure? In the air?

Of course in the middle of all this, the little old airline on the prairie will have been gobbled up by Delta to form THE BIGGEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD, so will the Northwest fleet be Wi-Fi enabled as well?

Questions. So many questions. And don't forget to ask if your pillow and blanket are considered carry-ons.


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