Super Bowl Viewing at 35,000 Feet

Last year I spent Super Bowl Sunday on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Honolulu. The New Orleans Saints were pitted against the Indianapolis Colts and I didn’t see a minute of live coverage; however, the pilot spent the last portion of our nearly 10-hour flight giving us updates on the score and trying to find a frequency at which flying football fans could hear the game on the plane’s audio system.

What a difference a year makes.

This year when the Green Bay Packers issue a smackdown on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, high flying fans won’t have to miss out on the action taking place down on the field in Dallas.

Well, most of them anyway.

JetBlue, Frontier and most Continental planes will carry the game on DirecTV. JetBlue won’t charge passengers to watch the game; however, Continental and Frontier flyers will have to fork over $6 for the privilege of watching the biggest football game of the year.

Virgin America and Delta Air Lines offer free TV, but that matters little in the case of Sunday’s game since the carriers offer DISH Network, which doesn’t feature Fox — the network airing the game.

Another way to watch the Packers take on the Steelers in the Big D is to find an airline with Wi-Fi and purchase Slingbox, a $180 piece of hardware that connects to a home TV and allows users to watch shows on their laptop, iPad and some smartphones. Commercial carriers equipped with Wi-Fi include: American, Delta, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin. However, the service is not free and not available on all flights. Prices range from $4.95 to $12.95, depending on the length of the flight. What’s more, Wi-Fi connections on planes are notoriously slow, and the service can’t be used when the plane is flying below 10,000 feet. So if the score is tied during the last minutes of the game and your flight is making its final descent to your destination airport, you may still be pulling out your hair because you decided to fly on Super Bowl Sunday.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.