USAirways to Raleigh

March 14, 2015

Surprise surprise! Commuter jets operated by Republic for USAirways have wifi, and you can upgrade for super cheap. Too bad they only fly out of DCA.

I am not sure what United has planned, or when its plan will be implemented, but they seem to think a plan is reality. Ridiculous.

I flew in and out for dinner and did not spend the night. But I did camp in the Marriott RTP lobby for a short while. Yuck.

At least Marriott listened (and brought out a cocktail to boot).

I am on a newly configured cross country United 737-900 with power and wifi (in addition to the ultra-ridiculous DirecTV nonsense). Having net on a cross country flight is quite fantastic. Economy plus seating has enough room for work unless you find yourself stuck next to an obese person.

I was not upgraded (of course), so my position on whether you should fly 1,579,471 miles on United has not moved much. United drops you like a rock if you don’t fly perpetually (even after over a decade of 100K loyalty). But this trip today right now does not suck.

Of course, Jeff Smisek still needs to be fired.

Those of us on noplasticshowers have been on the interwebs since 1985. We have some claims to fame such as: we stood up node 400 on the web in 1993, we wrote a chapter 10 of the first book ever sold on amazon, and we wrote the first book in the world on software security.

But nevermind all that. When we’re on the road, we need us some interwebs.


So what’s the problem? Well, even our favorite hotel chain has net that can be overloaded by 6 hamsters surfing porn simultaneously. Throw in a conference of 25,000 geeks and the net no workie.

Next: brand new wings at SFO have gorgeous architecture but can you get net? No. SFO Architecture sans Net The designers thought more about electricity than bits. (At least they are halfway there.)

Then there is the supreme suckiness that is United airlines. Delta has wifi. United has mandatory ads on DirecTV but no net. United really sucks these days.

Having no net is like having no oxygen. Please universe, to be giving us more interwebs on the road!!

After two months without setting foot in Dulles Airport it was back to the grind today. I had to check in at the Unite Premier line since my 100K status has been yanked after 1.5 million miles. I flew too many other airlines last year it seems (delta has wifi). But guess what, the Premier line was empty while the 100k people waited around.

Resigned to my non-upgraded state, I dutifully stood in the Boarding Group 2 (two, WTF?!) lane with the masses. But before group two was even called to board, I was summoned to the front for an upgrade.

How did that happen? I’m not going to even begin to ask. Maybe twitter had something to do with it.

So I get on the plane and not only do I have plenty of room to work, there is wifi too. United is on a roll. Ironically, I removed my seat power adapter from my computer bag this morning when I decided I would not need it. That would be wrong. I used every bit of my macbook’s battery today and got a ton of work done. Awesome.

I tweeted from 35,000 feet, posted the usual Vine posting of the seat, and even shot a picture with my google glass. Life was good.

Tweet from 35,000 feet from Google Glass.

Tweet from 35,000 feet from Google Glass.

And then there was ice cream.

Ice cream on an airbus.  You go United!

Ice cream on an airbus. You go United!

Well done United. Please make the rest of 2014 like this, what say?

Even as recently as this morning, the twitter people at United were telling me how hard it was for them to install wifi. (Um, let me see if I care…nope.) Well they have it on this plane. That means Delta is not the only wifi game in my airplane universe. Good.

But be forewarned, if you are a mac user, avoid safari. Use chrome instead.

Unoted wifi and safari FAIL

United wifi and safari FAIL

It took me a bunch of experimentation to get stuff working. This makes airbus first class much better.

And a two word hint for the evil minded: ping tunnel.