Space may be the final frontier but the sky will soon be the limit for air travellers everywhere as texting, emailing and tweeting become increasingly adopted by airlines and civil aviation authorities all over the world.
Earlier this week, an American woman travelling between New York and Palm Beach, Florida, captured rare and beautiful images of the space shuttle Endeavour as it broke through the clouds on its way into orbit.
Within minutes of sending the images on Twitter, NASA had seen it and a number of American news organisations including CBS and NBC had also joined the party, retweeting Stephanie Gordon’s photos all around the world.
Here’s another photo of what a space shuttle flight looks like at 10,000 metres from the window of a passenger airliner.
This simple act catapulted Ms Gordon to temporary fame as she became the focus of dozens of Twitter messages congratulating her on the images on her iPhone. She also made a brief video of the launch.
As @StefMara, who describes herself as “just a girl who loves her sports and looks forward to working in the industry again”, tells it, simply scroll down to read how the tweets unfolded:
Three things about my flight: I can lay down across 3 seats just fine, it was freezing & I got to see this. http://twitpic.com/4yg4ur
Here’s another Photo of the shuttle from my plane. http://twitpic.com/4yg6hs
Video of the shuttle launch. http://twitvid.com/W5SRJ
@LizStrand @MelissaCarter my plane Flew right past the shuttle! http://twitpic.com/4yg91a
Thanks everyone for the RTs. I am overwhelmed!!!
@StadiumInsider I had to turn off my twitter notifications because it was killing my battery! Thanks for the RT@JimCantore @HeatherCrawshaw
OMG!!! @NASA retweeted my photo!’n
@StadiumInsider CBS & NBC have already contacted me!
I cannot keep up with all the RTs and tweets. This is crazy. Guess it’s a good thing I woke up on my flight!
OMG!!!!! RT @BreakingNews: RT @Stefmara takes a photo of the Shuttle Endeavor from her plane http://bit.ly/kFPjzr
For everyone asking. I was flying from NYC to Palm Beach Airport. Had been sleeping most of the flight.
Hi new followers. Warning, most of my tweets are baseball and hockey. Feel free to continue to follow if you don’t mind sports tweets.
Woohoo! Dad is finally ok with me being on twitter!
RT @MajorMikeLyons: RT @CBSNewsTech: Woman on plane films Endeavor rocketing to space http://bit.ly/moCpXv Way to go @stefmara! @cbsnews
Texting, emailing and tweeting from flights has only become a recent feature for New Zealanders and Australians. It seems Americans have been doing it for some time. Inflight wi-fi is widely available in the United States and, according to this article from last year, over half of American domestic airlines were offering high speed broadband.
Very few people are lucky enough to see a space shuttle soaring above the cloud. It’s a lovely story and highlights yet again how the social web and mobile technology have wedded to unleash a scarcely believable potential to share experiences. It helps to be in the right place at the right time and it wouldn’t be possible without a smart phone.
What are your experiences of using email, texting and Twitter on a flight? I’d love to read your comments.