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Mile-High WiFi Takes Off on Domestic Flights

By Kevin Fayle on May 04, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
It used to be the case that an airplane flight offered people some time to disconnect from phone calls, emails and all the other forms of communication that dominate modern life.

Those days are rapidly disappearing, however.
An article on describes how WiFi on airplanes is literally getting off the ground as several airlines have begun to offer an in-flight internet connection on certain aircraft.

Aircell, a company that provides internet service on flights by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Virgin America, says that 190 planes currently have internet access, and the company expects that number to rise to 1,200 by the end of the year.

The service is typically available in a tiered-rate system.  Aircell, for example, charges $9.95 for flights less than three hours, $12.95 for flights longer than three hours, and $7.95 for a WiFi-enabled handheld device.

No word in the article about connection speeds or download limits, but an airline industry expert predicts that the airlines will offer reduced rate options in the future that come with some limitations.

Several of the airlines have requested content filters to prevent passengers from viewing objectionable content.  Others, like Alaska Airlines, rely on their current guidelines for objectionable material.

Is this airplane-internet expansion a good thing?  It will certainly allow people to be more productive, but it may also heighten expectations that people will always be available. 

Even on business trips, it's sometimes nice to not have an internet connection so that you can actually get some work done.

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