By Russ and Tiña De Maris
More evidence that the RV industry thinks its future is now in the hands of the new generation comes in the form of the latest “strange bedfellows.” Two Big “A’s” have teamed up – Airstream and AT&T are pointing the advertising gun at those who want to RV and yet never feel disconnected at the internet umbilical. That’s right, buy a 2019 Airstream Classic travel trailer, you can get AT&T internet connectivity in your “connected classic” for as low as $25 a month.
Back in the day, the saying was, “With God, you’re never alone.” Apparently that anthem has changed to, “With 4G, you’re never alone.” Yep, whip around the country, trying to find an available RV site, and if you can’t find one, just pull over, fire up the iPad and connect to the web to track down that elusive piece of ground. And once you’re there, as the promotion-writers say, “With the connected Airstream Classic, you stay in touch with family and friends. Or take your office on your next camping trip.”
Yippee! I’m so looking forward to heading out in the Great North Woods to get away from it all, when I can still bring it all with me. Whoops, do I sound a bit jaded? Never mind, after all, “There’s no longer any reason to miss anything when you’re unwinding at the campsite. Connect your smartphone or tablet to the Airstream’s powerful Wi-Fi hotspot. And remotely monitor and control temperature, lighting, and more through the Smart Control mobile app.” Yes, what a great way to see how “digital technology has improved almost every aspect of our lives,” says Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “Shouldn’t it make camping better, too? We think so. That’s why we’re leading the way with our new Smart Control Technology and connectivity solution, starting with our Airstream Classic travel trailers.”
And here are all of the disclaimers from the bottom of the news release: “Coverage not available everywhere. Based on overall coverage in U.S. licensed/roaming areas. Reliability based on voice and data performance from independent 3rd party data.  Weekend Adventure: 5GB for $25 for 1 month (30 days). AT&T wireless acct req’d. Svc & coverage not avail. everywhere. Svc renews and is billed monthly until canceled. Pro-rata refund not avail. Other charges, & restr’s.  Unlimited Adventure: Unlimited for $360 for 1 year (365 days). AT&T wireless acct req’d. Svc & coverage not avail. everywhere. Cancel at any time. Pro-rata refund not avail. Not transferable. Other charges, & restr’s.”
Having had past experience with AT&T I would read ALL of the contract carefully. This is not a consumer friendly company.
I agree with the principle but find that I go through some sort of “withdrawal” when I’m disconnected for very long. News junkie! On the other hand, I get unlimited AT&T for $20 with the OnStar hotspot in my Chevy truck. Not quite as convenient but usable until the battery runs down.
Airstream is not a mainstream trailer for the masses. It’s a higher end trailer not within the range of most RV’er, especially first time buyers. Unless, of course, you get a nifty 20 year mortgage.
But the whole premise of this Airstream push is ‘off’ to me. Wifey and I look for (and mark in our Gazetteers) places we find with NO cell or web access. We seek these places out. Our kids are grown and gone and taking care of themselves. Now this is OUR time. Don’t call us – we’ll call YOU – maybe.
Also, I don’t get all this stuff about operating your trailer from your Smartphone. We can’t adjust the heat ourselves by walking to the controller on the wall? We can’t manually roll out our awning, or at least walk to the switch near the door that operates the automatic awning? Use our phone to operate our ‘landing gear’? C’mon! No wonder many of us are a tad overweight. Movement is good for us. Even if it’s just walking to the fridge to get a beer . . .
I guess I’m just stuck in the “old days”.
I have to agree. And all the disclaimers at the end? Not much of a “deal” when all is said and done.