Mobile Internet Speed: A tale about why it matters

User Experiences

The following is based on a true story. The names have been omitted, and the places and times changed to protect those who suffered from slow internet.

The line at the TSA security screening had already begun to extend beyond the “Line Begins Here” sign, and was only going to get worse. But for this traveler, that was only the latest of his problems. He was now in danger of missing his flight from JFK to Dulles, and if that happened, odds of getting to the hospital in time were slim.

He hadn’t even wanted to go on this trip; in fact, he had begged his boss to send someone else in his stead. True, his wife’s due date was still three weeks away and this was only going to be a 48-hour commitment, but he’d had a bad feeling – after all, both he and his sister had each come nearly a month early.

Sure enough, he had received the frantic call from his wife that she had gone into labor as he was wrapping up his last meeting – which had run interminably long – and dashed out of the building while pulling out his phone to arrange a car to the airport (knowing full well that getting a cab at rush hour in midtown Manhattan was a hopeless cause). But thanks to a maddeningly slow connection on his taxi app, he was now in danger of missing out on the birth of his first child.

Now that he saw the line though, his fears doubled. Frantically checking the departure board, he noticed that there was another flight on a different airline that was due to leave just half an hour later. If he could get on that one, it should give him enough time to get past security and to the gate before the doors closed.

But he knew that if he got out of line to go back to the ticket counter, it would set him back another 10-15 minutes at least, and he couldn’t afford that. No matter, he thought. The airline had to have a mobile site where you could purchase tickets, and even if he was paying for this one out of his own pocket, it was worth it for such a momentous life event.

So balancing his garment bag on his carry-on, he pulled up the site on his iPhone and frantically started searching for their online ticket ordering section. It took a few clicks and some scrolling around banner ads (would it have killed them to build an Adaptive site rather than a Responsive one?), but finally he found it and saw to his delight that there were three seats left.

After entering his personal info and his credit card number, he tapped the “Purchase Ticket” button with a smile on his face, sure that he was going to be able to make the new flight and get home in time.

Then he waited….

And waited….

And waited….

By the time he refreshed the page, the flight was booked. His son was born four and a half hours later as the plane he finally got on was just touching down in D.C.

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Published on
Jul 23, 2014
updated on
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