Is Streaming TV At 30,000 Feet A Flight Of Fancy?

Higher prices to fly, rising baggage fees -- and, of course, flight delays. But we still can't use our tablets while flying to catch up on last week's "Modern Family"? 

Times are tough enough, so modern electronics should give us a little bonus -- that is, if one's broadband or streaming service works well enough at 35,000 feet moving at 600 mph.

Live TV programming through airline seat monitors has been around for some time. But giving flyers access to time-shifted programming via their personal mobile devices would be better.

Certain airlines provide in-flight Internet use via in-seat devices. But fliers are not allowed to use their own mobile devices, especially phones. Users of iPads and other tablets need to set their devices in "Airplane Mode,” meaning no access to YouTube, Hulu or Netflix accounts.

The Federal Communications Commission has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to allow passengers to access emails and conduct other Internet activities on airplanes via mobile devices. An initial step would be allowing use during take-offs and landings.



We don't have supersonic passenger planes to cut flight duration – It still takes five to six hours coast to coast. People already work on spreadsheets, business presentations and the like between take-offs and landings, but haven't been able to do any real communications -- phone, email, video or otherwise -- via their own devices.

But hey, you can pay the airlines a separate $12.99 fee, can't you?

Safety issues are always the sticking point. But many now believe there is a very small risk here, with the rewards being greater. The FCC chairman wants what any strong business-proponent executive would want: greater productively.

For some, flight time can be a forced vacation of sorts – which can also mean delays in catching up with work. But has anyone thought of my need to catch up on "Modern Family" and "The Voice"? A good worker is a well-rested, entertained one.

Fliers should push for in-air fulfillment of their TV entertainment needs. Surely, network executives will thank us for all that higher TV usage.

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