It's been three months since my last flight, and I'm easing back into the glamorous world of business travel.  Before boarding this American Airlines flight to Boston, a perky marketing type was passing out promotional codes in the departure lounge in order to use the new GoGo in-flight Internet service for free.  Sign me up!

I've used in-flight wi-fi before, when Lufthansa was the first airline to offer the capability through Boeing's Conexxion service.  So the novelty factor isn't there, but I thought at least I could replicate out some Notes mail during the flight.  I went through the registration process and followed the promotion card's instructions, entering the case-sensitive "MOBILE2009AA" promotion code.  Error: "This code is not valid for this product" (there's that word again).  I thought maybe it was a Safari browser problem.  Nope....Firefox failed, too.

Eventually I noticed the fine print on the other side of the promotion card -- valid only for connections up to US$7.95.  Well, for whatever reason, the price for wi-fi service on this flight was $9.95.  Thus, the promotion was invalid -- and the perky marketing manager essentially pulled a bait-and-switch to get everyone to check out the wi-fi.  Instead of buying themselves a great word-of-mouth marketing experience, GoGo managed to buy themselves some negative publicity -- and I'll be more hesitant in the future to use their over-priced service.  I'm sure at some point I will break down -- captive audience and all -- but I definitely feel deceived this morning.  And no, for a 90 minute flight, I'm not paying $10 when I could be napping.

There was one saving grace to the whole experience.  Right there on the in-flight portal home page, a familiar banner ad:

Image:Go-Go Inflight Internet marketing #fail, but Lotus Knows

Great visibility for LotusKnows!

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