Got Airmail?

Soon you'll be able to stay in touch via e-mail, even when you're in flight.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the November 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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:

  • Once on board, just plug your laptop modem cord in to the phone jack on the side of the seat-back Airfone receiver.
  • Swipe your credit card, and log on as you would at your office or hotel. (Thankfully, no downloads, plug-ins or setting changes are required.) A JetConnect home page should appear on your Web browser.
  • Choose from two options: JetConnect only ($5.99) offers IM and text messaging, news, stocks, sports and weather updates, and games. JetConnect with e-mail costs $15.98, plus additional charges for large downloads. These one-time fees are good for the duration of the flight-no additional per-minute fees to worry about.

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 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.

More from Entrepreneur

Jason's expertise and experience can help you with storytelling, motivation, and pitching your business to media.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur