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Got Airmail?

Soon you'll be able to stay in touch via e-mail, even when you're in flight.
November 1, 2003
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/65034

As airlines look for ways to appeal to business travelers without giving away the proverbial store, they're turning to pay-as-you-go options like in-flight e-mail and information services. In addition to those pricey voice calls from airplane seat-backs (which run in the $4-per-minute range), Verizon Airfone now offers JetConnect, a new way to stay in touch with what's happening on the ground. Here's how it works:

JetConnect has limitations: Inbound and outbound e-mails and news page updates are cached on the onboard server, which communicates with the ground only every 10 to 15 minutes, so messaging and e-mail functions are not instantaneous. JetConnect users also cannot surf the Web; they can only access pages stored on the onboard server. JetConnect will soon be on the domestic fleets of Continental and United airlines-more than 700 aircraft. Other major airlines are expected to follow. (Visit www.verizon.com/airfone/jetconnect for details.) In the meantime, you can use a seat-back Airfone to connect to the Internet, but expect a slow connection prone to failure.


Christopher McGinnis, travel correspondent for CNN Headline News, is author of The Unofficial Business Travelers' Pocket Guide.