Friday, December 7, 2007

Online Onboard: Inflight Internet in 2008

KXL Tech Expert Segment for 7 December 2007

A handful of domestic carriers have made plans to offer inflight Internet access starting next year. The carriers, starting with Jetblue's test plane next week, will offer a range of service options with fees ranging from free to $10 per flight.

This isn't the first time you've been able to online on board, yet there's new optimism this will finally fill in one of the last Internet dead spots with a useful option for frequent travelers. Boeing's now defunct Connexion project offered online access for largely international carriers but was disbanded in recent years.

Jetblue, through its subsidiary LiveTV, will offer email and messaging access for free while Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and new startup Virgin America each plan to offer a more complete Internet offering sometime in 2008 -- for an estimated $10 per flight.

Don't expect any mid-air connection as fast as services on the ground, but sometimes anything is better than nothing. Look for Voice-over-IP services such as Vonage and Skype to be disabled -- saving everyone from the feared Chatty Cathy in the next seat.

Listen to this report, originally broadcast on KXL-AM Friday December 7: kxl_techexpert-onlineonboard_20071207.mp3 (MP3)

For more on this story, check out the following links:
What do you think? Will Inflight Internet change the way you travel? Are you likely to select a carrier based on whether or not the carriers keeps you connected? I'll be following this story closely and look forward to trying it out...

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