Airplane Internet Access

Some airplanes can now be used as mobile offices.

So instead of relaxing, taking a nap, or doing some reading you now may be able to continue working.  This is great news for small business owners needing all the extra time they can get.  But for corporate warriors wanting a break, the “I’ll be on a plane unavailable” excuse may not fly any more.

Here’s a break-down of the airlines wireless internet offerings:

First Class Wireless Internet Access

Delta and Virgin both utilize the Aircell service.   Aircell charges $9.95 for flights three hours of less and $12.95 for longer flights.  No airlines currently offer internet access on international flights, although Delta and others are exploring.

AirTran has installed Wi-Fi on all its planes.  Note AirTran doesn’t have places to power your equipments.  So you may need extra battery packs for a longer flight.

Internet Access Tests

American Airlines offers internet access as a test on some of their Boeing 767 jets.  Around 150 planes are scheduled to have wi-fi by the end of the year.  The entire American fleet will offer wi-fi if their test planes perform well.

Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are also testing wi-fi on a limited number of planes, and will roll it out more broadly based on performance.

Internet Access at Planning Stages

US Airways is in planning stages and will have Wi-Fi by the end of next year.

United will test internet access later this fall on flights from NY to LA and SF.

Air Canada will start testing “soon”.

JetBlue has free email and instant messaging on many planes, but doesn’t have full internet access.  It isn’t known if JetBlue plans a full wi-fi test or roll-out.

On-board internet access should prove to be quite popular.  Would you pay for internet access on planes?  If so, how much?

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