Category Archives: Travel

UA895 Wi-Fi Review – Chicago to Hong Kong

On October 2015, 2015, I flew to Hong Kong via Chicago on United Airlines flight UA895. The Chicago-Hong Kong flight was 16 hours, and I hoped that Wi-Fi would be available on the plane, at least for part of the flight. I didn’t find much in terms of reviews prior to the flight, so here’s mine.

Short version:

Available: yes, for about 60% of the flight
Cost: $16.99 for 1 laptop
Signal quality: very variable, mainly OK for emails and light web browsing

Long version:

Wi-Fi was available for purchase for $16.99 once we reached a bit more than 10,000 feet. United MileagePlus members can log in to their account before purchasing Wi-Fi, which will allow them to transfer the connection to another device (only one device can be used at a time). The Wi-Fi purchase will only be valid on one device and cannot be transferred for those who purchase without logging in to a MileagePlus account.

The connection was initially pretty decent, but came with a warning that the signal may or would not be available:

  • while heading north before reaching the North Pole (up to 40 minutes)
  • while over the North Pole (up to 3 hours)
  • while over Chinese airspace (time not mentioned, but probably 3 hours as well)

The connection indeed got worse and dropped at various points during the flight, which is not necessarily that bad of a thing since it’s good to sleep on at least part of a 16-hour flight!

As usual with in-flight Wi-Fi, video was disabled, but the signal was good enough to download and send emails, read the news, and other light web browsing. I’m pleased with the experience and found the price to be much more reasonable than Delta’s $50 price tag for Wi-Fi on a Detroit-Seoul flight last year.

Note that your experience could be different based on the aircraft you’re on and the flight path on the day of your flight.

Here are some screenshots:

WiFi Info

United_Portal_-_Purchase_-_2015-10-25_16.07.45

United_Portal_-_2015-10-25_21.36.29

car2go to YUL/Trudeau Airport – Worth it?

When Communauto launched its Auto-Mobile car sharing service, where you can take a car, drive it and park it at your destination while only paying for the ride time, I was enthusiastic and figured one of the best use cases would be going to the airport – surely, another member would take the car there to go back home, and both would save on a taxi.

This hasn’t happened yet (I’m sure regulation at the airport doesn’t help), but car2go launched something similar a few months ago: you can take a car2go, park it at the Aeroparc lot, and then take the free shuttle to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL) airport. There’s a $7.50 fee on top of the regular car2go rates to cover for the parking.

I used the service to go to the airport October 12 and it works reasonably well.  However, it’s not really door-to-door like a cab would be: you need to get to a car2go (closest one was a 10 minute walk from my apartment at that time), drive it, park it at Aeroparc, and then wait for and take the shuttle to the airport. The cars aren’t super comfortable either.

The ride ended up costing 14,99$ (about 40 minutes of driving) + 1$ safe ride fee + $7.50 Airport parking fee = $23.49 before taxes, which is $27.01 after taxes. Granted, I got lost because of a wrong address in a Gazette article, and I estimate that the ride could have cost $19.20 in the best case scenario, but it’s not particularly cheap for driving yourself to the airport.

Two weeks later, I went to the airport with a UberX in low traffic and managed to get there in 17 minutes, for about $2 more than what I calculated would be the best case scenario with car2go.

From Jean-Talon Market to YUL

car2go – my experience car2go – best case scenario UberX – my experience
Door-to-door time
60 minutes 30-35 minutes 17 minutes
Cost $27.01  $19.20 $21.29

 

This is from the Jean-Talon Market area, and your mileage may vary, but my conclusion is that car2go to the airport is not as helpful as I initially expected. I think it’s a good option when

  • only one person needs to travel (or two with very limited luggage)
  • there’s a car2go available right next door / you’re not in a rush
  • there are no UberX’s nearby or Uber has surge pricing in place

Otherwise, my experience is that UberX will be faster (drops you at the airport terminal, with no shuttle to take), more comfortable, and very close in pricing.

If car2go (or Communauto with Auto-Mobile) managed to get parking spots that are within a few minutes walk of the terminals, the situation would be different.

The comparison would also be different for getting back home from the airport, since Uber is not allowed to pick up there, and the comparison would therefore be between car2go and regular taxis, not UberX.

Have you tried riding car2go to YUL? If so, what was your experience? Feel free to post in the comments.