Working in the Sky

Until the last 18 months or so, the airplane was the one place where you had no choice but to disconnect from your digital life.

If you’re lamenting the introduction of wireless on most of the major airlines, you probably skew a bit crotchety anyway. Face it: on a cross-country BOS>LAX trip, how else am I going to spend six hours? I might as well get some work done.

Over the past few hours, I’ve listened to a less-than-pristine audio broadcast of the Milwaukee Bucks playing the Boston Celtics, followed the NFL Draft on Twitter, shot off a few DMs to friends on the ground in Boston, wrote some JavaScript and knocked out a few emails.

Oh yeah, I peaked at LinkedIn and Facebook, and I wrote this blog post.

Spotty would be a generous way to describe the Internet connection at 35,000 feet, and it costs $17 on Virgin America. That seems a bit steep, but in the end it’s probably worth it.

I’d say I was relatively productive. The work-on-a-plane experience in 2012 is a somewhat reasonable facsimile of being at my desk at the office. You know, aside from occasional turbulence and wafting jet fuel.

With my noise-cancelling headphones, tonight, it’s just me, my music and my MacBook — and 150 silent strangers floating somewhere over the Midwest. Thankfully, I can still surround myself with my world back on planet Earth.

There’s something to be said for taking a digital vacation and going untethered. But that’s what tropical islands are for. I’m totally fine with staying connected up in the air.

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