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While we still can't use our cell phones on airplanes, onboard internet is getting a lot of attention.
In-air Wi-Fi is pretty much ready for prime time. It doesn't have the interference or social issues that crop up around cell phone usage. International travelers will get the first crack at it. There have been Wi-Fi announcements and implementations from airlines like Singapore Airlines and German carrier Lufthansa. Connexion by Boeing is a leading provider in this area. Pricing can start as low as $8 for a 30-minute block. Check for availability on your next overseas flight.
Look for in-flight Wi-Fi on U.S. airlines sometime next year. Boingo customers will benefit from a roaming agreement that allows access on Connexion-enabled flights. United Airlines and Verizon Airfone have tested their own in-flight Wi-Fi, due to go online next year as well.