In the past few months several U.S airlines--Alaska Air, American Airlines, Continental, JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin America--have announced plans to <A HREF="http://blogs.zdnet.com/computers/?p=138&tag=nl.e622">offer Internet access on some routes.</A> Why now? The equipment is cheaper and easier to install, business and leisure travelers are asking for it, and the Open Skies rules, which are about to go into effect, will suddenly give U.S. airlines more competition. Each airline is taking a different approach to the technology, features and pricing.
American Airlines and Virgin America will both offer Aircell's gogo service, a cellular system that uses a version of EV-DO Rev A to deliver broadband speeds of 2Mbps on flights over North America. Aircell says the basic pricing will be about $12.95 for cross-country trips and $9.95 for flights lasting three hours or less. Starting this spring, American will outfit 15 of its Boeing 767s for gogo. It plans to target business travelers with laptops on popular routes between New York and San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami. Virgin America is taking a different approach. It hopes to offer gogo on all flights and for all passengers via the entertainment system in the seatbacks. No laptop required.