IP calls from a plane

My first experience with Skype in an aeroplane from Korea to Frankfurt flying at 800 km/h at 35.000 feet – fantastic!
It was the 3rd of December 2005 and I was sitting in a Lufthansa Airbus on the way back to Europe after a weeks exciting working in Korea. I had read the newspapers and done some work and now I felt like getting through some of all the mails that needed answering on my computer – and I also missed my girlfriend a lot.

I started my computer, activated WiFi and voilà – I was online on www.ConnexionbyBoeing.com. I registered on their site and chose to use the voucher I had received with 30 minutes use; the alternative was half an hour for 9 USD or 30 USD for the whole trip. The price was not bad – it’s at the same level as most hotels charge for 24-hours Internet access.

Donning my headset, I started Skype and could see which of my contacts were online and of course I also had the possibility to use my Skype Out account to call both fixed line and mobile numbers – and all at a price that is identical with the price I usually pay on Skype.First I called my girlfriend – she did not quite get it and asked where I was and then started laughing when she heard I was sitting at a height of 35.000 feet flying at 800 km an hour talking to her via my computer and an Internet connection on the aeroplane!

Then I called a number of friends and part of my family, spread across Copenhagen, London and Caracas – I have to admit a mobile nerd like me does get a kick out of an experience like this! Being able to phone from an aeroplane is not new at all, but being able to phone via your laptop / Skype and www.ConnexionbyBoeing.com  is really quite something!

If I had chosen to use my credit card and the ordinary phone on the aeroplane I would have partly on this flight been forced to make the calls in the corridor by the plane’s toilets and the price for a three-minute call would have been around the same as the unlimited Internet access cost for the whole flight from Seoul to Frankfurt.

Do I believe in Internet on aeroplanes? I most certainly do, I read the news, sent and received e-mails and use my Skype account – so that my total phone costs amounted to around 1 euro, plus the cost of the connection that Lufthansa and Connexion by Boeing offer.

The future is wireless – God I enjoy it…