American Airlines Tests In-Flight WiFi
On the long list of things that airplanes lack, the average person might rank short flight times, overall comfort, and decent food as being much more important than Internet access. We’ll have to take what we can get, though, and thanks to some 767 testing, a lot of American Airlines’s customers may be able to get that access.
"The WiFi service will be limited to transcontinental US flights at launch, and will eventually be offered for shorter flights," reports Eric Bangeman. "The broadband signal will come from Aircell’s 92 cellular towers across the continental 48 states that operate on the 3GHz frequency band. . . . Aircell claims the surfing experience will be akin to using mobile 3G broadband."
Assuming nothing unfortunate happens (and by "unfortunate," we mean everything from poor connection speeds to a repeat of the Heathrow scare), it’s hard to see why WiFi won’t get rolled out across the entire American Airlines fleet in the not-too-distant future. And other airlines would probably then do something similar.
We never underestimate the reach of corporate stupidity and regulatory insanity, though, so don’t anybody try to hold a breath of stale-smelling air.