Internet at 35,000 feet!

I am on a plane to New York for several meetings and to attend the CMSA/MBA Capital Markets Conference in Washington DC this Wednesday through Friday.

For $12, I have internet access in the sky!

American Airlines is offering it on flights from San Francisco and LA to New York and, while it is not T1 speed, it is totally acceptable. I even logged on to Backshop to see what it’s like to underwrite seven miles in the air (it’s just like the office).

Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike Excel underwriting tools. I was just having the argument with a major bank, and the only pro-Excel argument that I didn’t have a good answer for was “I like to work off line when I travel.” I would say things like, how often does that really happen, and with wireless cards, you can always be connected.

But it was not convincing. Fact of the matter is, the best thing about Excel is the ability to work off line. A web app, by definition, needs the Internet. By the way, working off line is also the worst thing about Excel because of the decentralization of such a critical function.

With the Internet now on planes, I can at least say, if you travel on American to NYC, you can have internet on your flights and underwrite while you travel. Hopefully, the service is successful and spreads to other airlines and becomes a standard service.

Another arrow in the quiver to get folks off Excel!

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Jim Flaherty is CEO of and the creator of the Backshop loan origination system. He is a trained credit professional with experience installing enterprise underwriting systems for commercial real estate lenders, rating agencies and investors.

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