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5 Reasons Why In-Flight Internet Will Take Off

Information Week
InformationWeek Daily - Monday, Aug. 25, 2008

Editor's Note

5 Reasons Why In-Flight Internet Will Take Off

As American, Delta, and other airlines begin to roll out in-flight Internet services, I'm hearing a lot of doubts about whether they'll stick. And many people are ticked off that airlines have the audacity to charge passengers $12.95 for the service. But for all you naysayers, I have some answers for you on why I think broadband in the sky is here to stay.

"It's too expensive at $12.95. Besides, airlines are now reaming us for baggage costs and meals. There's no way I'm going to hand over another $12.95 for Internet access."

1. Well, nobody complains when they pay $16.95 for a paperback novel at the airport terminal bookstore. It's all relative. And if you think airlines should or will offer this for free, dream on. Most are just trying to stay out of bankruptcy. It costs them to run this service, and they'll be lucky to squeeze a little profit out of it as it is. I see it more as a way to entice passengers and keep up with the competition in terms of passenger options.

"I don't care. It's the principle of it. I'm tired of getting reamed by airlines for every little cost now, and I'm not paying for it."

2. And you're not the only one who feels this way. Airlines know this, which is why they're counting on business travelers to use the service. Businesspeople everywhere expense WiFi access in airport terminals as they're waiting to board planes, so they can check e-mail and get other work done. There's even more downtime while you're actually in the air.

"Geez, when will I ever get away from work? Now I'm expected to stay in touch with the office from an airplane?"

3. Oh, come on. Wouldn't you rather answer the boss's e-mail while you're in a plane with nothing to do, rather than hours later in a hotel room, when you'd rather be settling down for a good night's sleep before the big conference? And do you really want to read that novel for seven straight hours on a cross-country flight?

I'm betting that this is the beginning of a long relationship between the Internet and the friendly skies. Go to my blog and read the rest of the reasons why I think so.

Mary Hayes Weier

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