When a routine flight goes down, so to speak, Richard Swerdlow has to unplug and launch his God-given browser.
It was only a short flight to LA, but just after take-off, when the captain came on the intercom to announce there was a problem with the plane, it didn't sound good: "Ladies and gentlemen, our onboard wi-fi system has gone down, so we won't have wi-fi available on this flight."
From the shrieks and groans filling the cabin, you'd think he'd announced the plane was going down, not the wi-fi. People stared in disbelief at now useless tablets, laptops, and phones, freaked at the prospect of one entire hour without movies, cat videos, shopping, or social media.
"And I can't even tweet about this," muttered the lady next to me. But since she couldn't tweet, and I couldn't email, we had a friendly real-time conversation. And, looking around the cabin, I noticed, with no wi-fi connection, how many passengers had removed their earbuds and cheerfully connected with seatmates. A happy background buzz of laughter and chit-chat slowly replaced the initial groans.
With no laptop to occupy me, I flipped through the in-flight magazine, and gazed out the window at fluffy clouds, letting my thoughts drift randomly, finding - to my surprise - how many constructive ideas popped into my head without the internet clogging my brain.