Does the Airline Bomb Plot Spell the End for In-Flight Wi-Fi?

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Will in-flight Wi-Fi not get off the ground?

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If you’re unable to read NewsFeed at a cruising altitude of 36,000 feet, does that mean the terrorists have won?

The New Scientist is posing the question that could have yet more ramifications for the beleaguered airline industry. As airlines were preparing to provide broadband in-flight entertainment systems that allow cellphone and Wi-Fi connections, this arguably much needed shot in the arm has been dealt a blow by the recent bomb plot linking a cellphone to the package that didn’t detonate. (See more on the failed bomb plot.)

Roland Alford, managing director of an explosives consultancy in the U.K., tells the New Scientist that in-flight Wi-Fi, “gives a bomber lots of options for contacting a device on an aircraft.” His colleague, Sidney Alford, continues to map out the nightmare scenario: “If it were to be possible to transmit directly from the ground to a plane over the sea, that would be scary. Or if a passenger could use a cellphone to transmit to the hold of the aeroplane he is in, he could become a very effective suicide bomber.”

The New Normal, as we so often hear air travel labeled these days, might be safest then by reverting to the Old Normal: a stiff drink upon take off, a lack of decent culinary and entertainment offerings and trying one’s best to get some sleep.

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