Boeing shuts down in-flight Internet access division

August 17, 2006 9:49 pm

According to this story, Boeing is shutting down the division that built the in-flight Internet service Connexion by Boeing.

One of the airlines that picked up the service was Scandinavian Airlines. They charged $29.95 for Internet access during transatlantic flights.

Gee, let’s do some math: The flight from Seattle to Copenhagen probably takes about 12 hours. So that’s about $30/12 hours = $2.50 per hour. If you pay $46 for high-speed access at home per month (an expensive average, perhaps?) that’s $46/720 hours = $0.063888 per hour, or about 6 cents per hour (taking a month as 30 days, 24 hours a day). Even if you make the comparison a bit fairer by admitting that you don’t use the service 24 hours a day, but perhaps only four, that still is $46/120 hours = $0.38333 per hour.

Who at Boeing thought that people would be so hungry after in-flight Internet access that they would pay between six and forty times more than they do at home?

This quote tells you there seems to not have been much thought behind the whole thing: “Over the last six years, we have invested substantial time, resources and technology in Connexion by Boeing,” said Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney. “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected.”

One Response to “Boeing shuts down in-flight Internet access division”

charris wrote a comment on August 17, 2006

I’m not sure it’s fair to compare it to household internet access – you are paying for convenience. Still, I have to believe that more than a handful of people couldn’t put it on their expense accounts for business. This smells like someone didn’t think through how people wanted to use it very well. I’m actually very puzzled as to how this failed so badly!

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