Free eBay Access on Airplanes: I Can’t Quite Tell if This is a Good Thing

Almost everyone’s seen the infamous, “I’m tweeting from an airplane” tweet. It’s a public outcry of half celebration and half “my computer’s so slow I can’t do anything else.”
Anyone who’s sent that airplane tweet knows exactly what I’m talking about. Progress bars load perpetually and if you manage to eek out a a page load or two, it’s pure victory, reason enough to ask for another bag of peanuts. In other words, even though connecting to the internet from 30,000 feet is really cool, it’s slower than molasses.

That’s why it both pains and delights me to hear that Gogo is offering free eBay access to fliers everywhere. The press release reads:

Starting today, passengers will have unlimited access to eBay through Gogo’s new multimedia platform, which will allow them to shop the more than 300 million listings on the site while they are above 10,000 feet. To access eBay, passengers can simply connect to Gogo using any Wi-Fi enabled device, open their browser and click on the eBay promotion on the homepage.

“By partnering with eBay, passengers can now shop a wide selection of listings on the site from 35,000 feet,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief marketing officer. “eBay joins a growing list of top shopping and e-commerce sites that can be found on Gogo’s multimedia platform; all of which can be accessed for free simply by connecting to Gogo and launching your Internet browser.”

It’s wonderful to know that I can order a vintage watch and see it arrives at my doorstep the second I return from vacation, but for the people who want to actually do work on an airplane, all the people loading the latest eBay fashions could very easily slow things down.

I’m not so sure this is such a good thing. Unless, of course, this means providers will be forced to increase wifi speeds for everyone.

About the author: Entrepreneur with ten years of experience running a digital marketing agency out of New York City. I work with startups and brands such as Virgin Airlines, L2 Inc (Gartner), American Express, Fabletics, LOFT, and more. When I’m not helping companies increase their audience and revenues, I love to travel, sail, and read. I also moonlight as a bartender at a classic cocktail bar.

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