Internet in the Air
American Airlines has announced that they will be offering internet access on-board for domestic flights. The partnership with AirCell is unique with its use of cellular technology. A previous attempt by Boeing using satellite technology to provide Internet access to on-board passengers failed when costs proved too high. Business travelers make up a huge chunk of domestic travel -- 18% according to the Travel Industry Association -- and the plan is to appeal to those who need to stay connected.
AirCell describes the service on their site as follows:
AirCell uses a network of wireless antenna sites across the U.S. to establish a link with the airplane. A Wi-Fi hotspot, placed within the cabin of the airplane, receives the link and allows passengers to connect to the Internet at DSL quality speeds.
For about $10 per flight, passengers can keep up with friends and family, answer work email, or snoop around on MySpace at "DSL quality speeds". Not a bad price, considering coffee shops across the country charge similar rates and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport charges $7.95 for a day pass.
So, here's the dilemma: for $10 you can get a couple of mini cocktails or you can have the ability to catch up on work, shop online or Google yourself. What would you pick? Would you use the 'net on-board? Let us know!