Well, yesterday’s [booking problem](/2007/06/13/china-2007-problems-before-departure/) was only temporary and I just bought my ticket. China, here I come! – Well, in two months.
32I am pleased to announce that my departure went without a hitch. I am currently about half-way to Detroit, blogging at 11500 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. I am connected via Lufthansa’s on-board Internet plan. It’s 27 US$ for the entire flight, but of course I just **had** to give it a try. It does work fairly well, but as expected it’s pretty slow. There are also disconnections now and then. It’s easy to set up (you really don’t have to configure much except disable your proxy settings, and set your notebook to use the Connexion WLAN) and well documented via the Lufthansa on-board magazine.
I don’t think anything gets filtered out. I am ssh’ing to my private servers without problems, so you could always tunnel whatever you want to access. Since anybody on the plane can listen in on what you’re doing, and since the connectivity is run by Boeing and thus routed via Seattle, using some form of encryption (vpn, ssh, whatever) is a very good idea. I’m still blogging directly though – but I’ll have to look into setting up an SSL host for this sort of thing.
26Unless you’re on a budget, it’s pretty neat to have Internet on board an airplane. I think I am getting used to it pretty quickly… hopefully, other airlines will offer comparable solutions.
Finally, as an aside: If you book Business Class, you even get a power socket for your notebook. This isn’t available in Economy, however.
194This past weekend, I had a unique opportunity to travel to [Toulouse](
http://wikitravel.org/en/Toulouse). Unique because the voyage included an organized tour of the Airbus company yards, with a special something thrown in for us at the end. Everybody can get a tour of Airbus, but as a bonus feature we got a sneak preview of the new Airbus 380. We weren’t allowed inside the hall where the beast was assembled; instead we were looking down from a visitor platform. And of course photography was not allowed.
Seeing the A380 for the first time in such a huge hangar fools you completely. You look down and you see, well, an aircraft. It takes a little while until you notice that those small crawly things on the wing are two technicians brooding over some schematics. Really impressive – and I cannot wait until the plane is finished and I will have my first flight on one.
Other than the A380, an Airbus tour is also highly recommended for any serious geek. It’s way too short, but interesting. I just wish they’d allow you to walk among the aircraft more.
198Tolouse itself is pretty nice, clean, with several interesting buildings and the Canal du Midi is good for an extended walk. I doubt you could spend more than at most an extended weekend without being bored out of your mind however.
One final word of warning: Do not go to the [CitÃ© de l’Espace](http://www.cite-espace.com/index.php), unless you want to interest your young children in space flight. There is little to see and even less to do – it’s a waste of both time and money. And this comes from a guy who really loves spaceflight, too.