Happy Travels Series - WiFi On A Plane

Let's face it.  We all spend a lot of time online in some way, shape, or form; some for pleasure, and some for work, and for most of us a combination of the two.  When we travel we are usually able to take a break, or forced to take a break, from Wifi because we're on a plane.  Airlines have been offering WiFi for quite a while now, but many have been unhappy with it.  Unhappy because it costs a pretty penny, and unhappy with the experience (too slow mainly and that is when it's working.  Not even Samuel L. Jackson can help you now!). 

Most of us when we fly are looking for things to do to entertain ourselves and/or the kids.  In-flight entertainment is great, but it's not always there and it doesn't give you the freedom and efficiency of WiFi ("Hey, you guys want to watch Smurfs on the way home too!").

Airlines have been working to make in-flight Wifi a better experience for some time now and have been rolling out improvements slowly.  However, there's something you can do now to improve your online experience in the air.

If you use Google's Chrome web browser to surf the net you may have heard of Chrome extensions.  Extensions are little programs that modify the Chrome web browser.  For example, there's a popup blocker extension that, funny enough, helps block popups while online.

Well, Northwestern University Computer Science/Engineering folks have developed a Chrome Extension to speed up your browsing experience while on a plane.  The have called it ScaleUp and as they describe it in the Chrome Web Store: "Boost your Browsing! This extension actively and passively monitors your network connection and scales up your webpage for maximum performance.  Larger scale factor = fewer objects on page = faster loading time!"  Oh, and did I mention it's free?

I haven't had the opportunity to test this while flying yet, however, I have installed the extension and anecdotally it appears to me to have decreased the page load time while browsing on my home WiFi (another bonus, it should work everywhere, right?!)

So, you've paid good money to get online in the air, make the most of it by adding ScaleUp to your Chrome browser and Travel Happy!