The folks at Aircell, providers of the Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi service that launched on American last week, have admitted that the ban on video and VoIP chats via Skype and other clients is not bandwidth related, it’s for the sanity of everybody else on the plane (much like the in-flight calling ban that’s started to float around Congress). Well, after the first few days of the service, Andy over at VoIP Watch has found a backdoor via the Twitter-based VoIP app Phweet that allows for chatting from 35,000 feet. If you must, read on for the details.
Phweet lets you talk to anyone with a Twitter ID via a Flash-based web interface. This circumvents Aircell's block on voice and video chats, which is done via the system's router (Skype calls connect, but drop after 5 seconds or so once the network discovers what you're up to). Since Phweet disguises itself as any old Flash embed, it gets around the block. I still reserve the right to "accidentally" spill my Bloody Mary and peanuts all over you if you spend the whole flight gabbing to your Twitter friends, though. [VoIP Watch, Laptop, Image: bribriTO]