Wednesday, June 25, 2008

American Airlines To Test In-air Online Service

Normally, I get upset when a company charges for Internet access (think $15 a day at The Four Seasons when you are already paying $650 a night for the room) but the news that American Airlines is about to start testing a pay Internet service has me all excited.

Air travel today is simply painful - even when you buck up for the full-fare first class seat often costing $2,000 or more domestically. Flight attnedants are surly and often would rather bitch about union gripes than get you a fresh Diet Coke. Delays are everywhere. Seats are cramped. Flights are canceled all the time. And some airlines even have the balls to try to charge people to check a bag. Its just awful.

American Airlines, who is one of the two airlines I fly the most out of Los Angeles along with United - is onto something with this pay Internet service. With fuel costs high, we all understand that flights have to be more expensive. What flights do not have to be is less luxurious or less productive. Adding Internet service adds value to go along with the recent increases in price.

Online access is part of many private flights on some of the newer jets that have been retrofitted for the service. If you are rocking a Gulfstream 450 from Van Nuys to Teterboro or rocking the old Citation X from Napa to Maui - you might just find online access. The installation on a private plane costs about $300,000. When spending $80,000 to make that L.A. To NYC trip private - that almost should be expected but at $1,600 for a business class ticket on American - this could be something that gets business travelers truly tickled.

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