Facetiming home on the new Air New Zealand 787

Its a wonder that I flew with Air New Zealand again, I said several times in the past that I wouldn’t, given that their service just didn’t meet my expectations on many flights. I stopped flying with them other than for domestic flights a few years ago after the flight I blogged about to Rarotonga. Then was a gap of a couple of years before that after they left me sitting at San Francisco Airport for about 10 hours stuck with all my luggage when I flew in from Munich because Air NZ didn’t interconnect luggage with Lufthansa, which is a whole different story about a trip back in time. I had loads of plans to do sightseeing there, but all I saw was the inside of the airport for a day. I felt a bit like Tom Hanks in that old movie The Terminal. So other airlines got my business for a few years.

I remember when I first flew on an Air New Zealand flight that had the ability to use mobile data during domestic flights. I was quite excited to be on one of the first flights, but horrified when I saw the cost. From memory it was something  like $10 for 10MB.

Anyway, enough whinging I wanted to tell you about something cool on their new 787. When I got on the plane the other day, instead of having them tell me that I needed to turn my mobile off in case my phone told their fly-by-wire system to do a sudden bank, I was invited to connect my iPhone to create a local WiFi network with my in flight entertainment system. Nek minute I’m talking to my daughter using Facetime and then Skyping the hotel to tell them that my flight had been delayed and not to give my room to anyone else.

There was also an iPhone dock on the fold out table so that I could charge my mobile at the same time. Sorry Android lovers but the fact that Apple still has a uniform plug means that it continues to take pride of place in planes, cars and consumer electronics. Apple did release some new products with the new micro dock connector, but there was a huge resounding protest from people who couldn’t plug their new iPhones and iPods into their cars and home theatres, that it was dropped again.

There are rumours on Mashable, TechCrunch etc saying that next season’s iOS devices won’t have docks at all and will be totally wireless, including coming with Powermat chargers. This does make a lot of sense given that some car manufacturers have already supported this technology.Watch this space.

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