Free Facebook initiative hopes to bring in-flight internet to the mainstream

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‘I’m cruising at 30,000 feet’ – how’s that for a status update? This month you can tell your Facebook friends about bad airplane food and poor legroom free of charge, following an initiative from seven US airlines.

While in-flight WiFi has been around for a while, it has suffered from poor user uptake. The popularity of Facebook might go some way to remedy this, or at least that is what the airlines are hoping as they launch the month-long freebie. According to Gogo Inflight Internet, which sponsors the scheme alongside Ford Motor, Facebook is the most popular site to visit for those who pay for Wifi. Those wanting to access other sites will still have to pay, with fees starting at $4.95 for a short flight, going up to $12.95 for longer-haul journeys.

The initiative covers the major US airlines, meaning you need to book a ticket with participants such as United Airlines, American Airlines or Virgin America to take part. Still, it remains to be seen if a month is enough to get people hooked on in-flight internet to the degree that they would be willing to pay for it later. Even if they are happy to splash the cash to go online, there are still services that remain unavailable if you access the internet from an airplane. This includes music and video streaming – no YouTube or Spotify, in other words. At premium access prices, this may be a dealbreaker.

What do you think – how much would you pay to use Facebook while flying?

ShinyJess