In 2001, a bunch of US-based airlines bought into Boeing's vision of internet in the skies. However, in the wake of September 11th, 2001, they all pulled out of the project to focus on things like, well, surviving. Boeing did still manage to sign up foreign airlines, but the US airlines all managed to avoid offering real internet access in the skies. When they did offer any kind of internet access it was extremely limited and ridiculously pricey. However, it was only a matter of time before US airlines jumped on the surf-while-you-fly bandwagon, and apparently United now has regulator approval to offer real WiFi in the sky. The good thing for the airlines, of course, is that more people now have WiFi equipped laptops, which should increase the demand for such things. What's not at all clear, though, is how United intends to price the service, and if it will be as ridiculous as many people expect. Considering that the plan is to piggyback the data on the ridiculously over-priced seatback phones, it wouldn't be surprising at all to find this service priced out of usefulness for most people. To be honest, it's a bit surprising that some of the more innovative domestic airlines weren't the first to move on WiFi in the sky -- but hopefully this jumpstarts others to get into the game at more reasonable price levels.
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