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Ella’s In-flight Story

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With the deadline looming for her literature final, undergraduate student Ella Riley-Adams faced an academic dilemma aboard her Virgin America flight. Riley-Adams only flies a few times per year, traveling from New York City, where she attends college, to her family’s home in Oregon. She books her visits far in advance, which means her trips cross-country can occasionally conflict with when her assignments are due.

Instead of trying to cram all night following a six-hour flight, she brought the classroom up in the air, using the in-flight Wi-Fi to finish researching her essay on the French writer Roland Barthes. For $14, she bought Gogo’s All-Day Pass, which provides 24 hours of Internet access and remains available for one year from the date of purchase.

“In a lot of ways, an airplane cabin can be like a school library,” Riley-Adams said. “It’s quiet, people are reading, and there are always a few people sleeping with their mouths open. Working in that kind of atmosphere felt natural, and using Gogo allowed me to find scholarly sources online and immediately put them into my writing.”

By the time the plane landed, she had already proofread, fact-checked, and emailed the paper to her professor. She even had a few minutes to spare to eat a bag of complimentary pretzels.

“The value of that peace of mind is worth a lot more than the cost of buying Wi-Fi for one night,” she added. “And it was a smart move, because when I got home and my head hit the pillow, I slept like a baby.”

Written by Jordan Teicher

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