Emailing Your Way Through The Friendly Skies

I have been eagerly waiting for the day when we are able to use the Internet while enjoying a plane ride. Just in case any airline execs happen to read this let me be clear that my comment about enjoying air travel is intended to be sarcastic.

Air travel has quickly deteriorated into something that used to be quite fun into a major pain in the ass. We pay more and receive less for the privilege of being locked inside a flying tin can. Since this post is not designed to be a rant about flying I’ll wrap up this section.

But before I do let me express a few more thoughts. It is more than a little irritating to see the numerous ways you ding us for a few bucks more, especially the latest trend of charging for luggage. I’d rather you raise your fares so that you can resume offering food and other services as part of the flight.

Even though I know that I am still being charged $5 bucks for a stale bagel I’ll feel better not having to shell it out on board. Anyway, enough on this and now on to the story.

“DALLAS, Texas (AP) — American Airlines says customers will be able to test in-flight Internet access on two flights beginning Wednesday, with broader service expected to begin in the following couple of weeks.

Facing record high fuel prices, airlines are looking at entertainment and information services as ways to make a few more bucks per passenger.

American plans to charge $9.95 to $12.95 for Internet service, depending on flight length.

The test with technology partner Aircell LLC will begin on one flight from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles and one return flight, said Doug Backelin, American’s manager of in-flight technology. The test service will be free, he said.

The airline would not say on which flights it would conduct the test.

American is among several companies preparing to offer in-air Internet service.

Aircell is also working with Virgin America, and JetBlue Airways Corp. started testing free e-mail, instant-messaging and some Amazon.com services aboard one of its planes in December.

The airline will begin charging for Internet service soon on its Boeing 767-200 jets that fly from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

Passengers will be able to use e-mail and instant messaging and to download video and connect to secure networks on notebook computers or other wireless devices such as smart phones through three wireless access points on the plane, said Dave Bijur, an Aircell executive.”

One more thing. I’d prefer not to allow cellphone use during the flight as I shudder to think of being forced to listen to that sort of noise for six hours.

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