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In-flight WiFi is coming to the friendly skies

We live in a connected world -- some may say that we all are too connected when it comes to electronic devices. American Airlines is looking to satisfy our cravings for "all access anywhere" with in-flight WiFi beginning this summer.

Southwest is partnering with Row 44 to provide high-speed satellite Internet access. The airline will equip four of its aircraft with the service starting in summer 2008.

"Southwest Airlines is pleased to announce its partnership with Row 44, and we intend to deliver the highest bandwidth available to commercial airlines in the United States," said Southwest Senior VP of marketing Dave Ridley. "Southwest's selection of satellite technology will offer a more robust experience for more Customers per aircraft versus other solutions available in the marketplace. Southwest is looking for the best solution for our Customers not only for Internet e-mail access, but for additional in-flight entertainment as well."

American Airlines will first roll the service out with its Boeing 767-200 airliners. These large aircraft typically make long, cross-country flights. After the initial test phase with the 767s, American Airlines will slowly add WiFi to its entire fleet.

The costs for in-flight WiFi are expected to range from $10 for short flight and up to $12.95 for longer, cross-country flights.

The high-speed Internet will be provided by AirCell. According to AirCell, the cost of providing Internet connectivity to a single aircraft is $100,000 USD and adds roughly 100 pounds to the airframe. The equipment can be installed overnight by airline crews.

Southwest and American Airlines are not alone in their testing, however. JetBlue is trialing in-flight WiFi with a single Airbus A320 aircraft dubbed "BetaBlue." JetBlue's service is also provided by AirCell, but it will not charge customers for connectivity.

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By PWNettle on 1/23/2008 5:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
"The Food and Drug administration"

Bad analogy IMO, because it seems like the FDA stopped being stringent with approvals, especially drug approvals, years ago. It's all about the benjamins now. I kind of expect to see all kinds of fallout from recent drugs showing up in a decade or two.

All those commercials about "using xx might cause kidney failure, impotence, internal bleeding, spontaneous combustion, birth defects, fatigue, anxiety, depression, euphoria, anal fissures, world peace, WW III - consult your doctor to pay even more before killing yourself with this drug."

How exactly does any kind of "safefy first" organization approve any of the multitudes of drugs you see with those kinds of disclaimers?


I think it's been adequately and scientifically proven that all these devices are no threat to modern aircraft.

Even so, I love the internet and use it all day (at work and at play) but is it really so hard to go without it for a few hours for a flight? Damn. I just read a book or take a nap. Disconnecting from the internet addiction for a little while here and there isn't the end of the world.

So who cares?

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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