Booking A Flight Just Got Even Better

by April Siese

It's about to get a whole lot easier to stay connected as you travel. Google Flights is now offering amenity information, including Wi-Fi availability, anytime you search for flights. The search engine has partnered with Routehappy, a site dedicated to finding the best flights on the web based on far more than affordability by breaking flights down into happy categories and giving them a numerical ranking. Routehappy's database includes connectivity information, as well as power outlet availability, both of which will be featured on Google Flights. Using Google, you can check departures and delays, search for specific flights, and do nearly everything but actually get yourself a plane ticket. They can, of course, point you in the right direction.

Never again will you enter a plane taking a gamble on whether or not you can fire up your tablet and get on Facebook to tell everyone you're on the flight you'd already checked into via Foursquare, which made sure to automatically tweet and make a status update for you. Instead, when you book your flight, you'll be able to make sure that you can get online. The Wi-Fi may or may not work well enough for you to use, but it will be there nonetheless. Wi-Fi on planes is a relatively new thing and varies heavily from airline to airline; it's certainly not the most powerful service out there.

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Because of its weak signal, most major carriers draw a hard line on streaming videos — and, really, why else would you want the Internet on a long flight? A United Airlines FAQ simply states that "streaming video from a website requires extensive bandwidth and will not work as well on a plane as it does on the ground," so don't complain to them when you try to binge-watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on a three-hour flight and only see five lagging minutes.

Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi, the ISP typically used on most planes, expands on United's answer and offers a solution in the form of their Entertainment on Demand service, a database that has preloaded videos housed on a server that also happens to be flying with you. All this means is that you might have access to the movie or TV show you want to watch but it's certainly not guaranteed. Less than stellar airplane Wi-Fi is about to get an upgrade however, with Gogo's new 2Ku technology, to be fully implemented by 2016.

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