[CES 2013] Gogo In-Flight Wifi Is A Convenient If Spotty Innovation

GOGO at CES 2013

CES 2013 is one of the biggest convergences of digital and tech types in the world each year — so the presence of Gogo, the in-flight wifi service for domestic flights, is nearly unnecessary as we all likely at least tried to get on the service as we readied to descend upon Las Vegas in a teeming mass of geekery.

Gogo had one of the convention’s distinct advantages of exposure, we would guess, due to this circumstance — few presenters had as captive an audience as the service due to the fact most of the CES crowd didn’t want to be disconnected for the journey to Sin City.

We met and spoke with the Gogo team briefly at Pepcom’s Digital Experience on Monday night, but like many attending press members at CES 2013, all of the team representing The Inquisitr availed themselves of Gogo services on flights to Vegas.

Two of our writers, James and Dan, purchased Gogo to get some work done ahead of our arrival at CES 2013, and I was lucky enough to have received 12 passes for free Gogo sessions when I purchased my Asus C7 Chromebook.

Each pass costs $14, and there is monthly Gogo subscription service available at $50 a month. (So if you travel a lot, enough to necessate 12 Gogo passes, you get back $168 of the $199 cost of a Chromebook in Gogo credit.) It should be noted that after my very brief layover from LaGuardia to Minneapolis-St. Paul, my Gogo reset, so I had to use up two passes for the single journey.

What Gogo is good for, exceedingly, is passing time on an airplane — with the internet and a laptop, Facebook and news sites absorbed the journey effortlessly with no boredom setting in. For that, the $14 cost is definitely worth it.

However, where Gogo was spotty on the CES 2013 journey was consistency and speed sufficient for working. Depending on the needs you have for internet while you work, you may find Gogo is not robust enough yet to handle your needs.

On a Chromebook, the limitations were foregrounded severely due to the device’s tendency to reload tabs without warning as well as the need to connect in order to use Chromebook for any meaningful application. Music streaming was a non-starter as well, songs failed to load and did not play at all.

I could access our site’s panel and even managed to put up a single post ahead of CES, but overall, the connection was far too slow to say I would guarantee a Gogo connection is sufficient for in-flight work.

James and Dan reported a similar experience — while they were able to access the internet in the air and check emails, it was difficult or impossible to utilize the relatively simple functions we use daily, such as the browser-based publishing panel or the ability to upload images.

Google Chromebook By Samsung

Ultimately, Gogo’s CES 2013 presence seems to portend better things to come. And like everything in the friendly skies, you can get what you need — but at a far smaller size and priced at a markup.

I will definitely use Gogo on future flights, but like many at CES 2013, I probably won’t count on it to ensure I get work done during a voyage. The service is a nice distraction for long journeys, but not quite a business-level service consistently just yet.