Ed Driscoll

The Airborne Internet

This should have happened four or five years ago, but I’m glad to see that aerial Wi-Fi is finally, err, taking off in the US:

Alaska Airlines said on Tuesday it plans to launch an in-flight wireless Internet service.

Alaska Air said it will test a system from Row 44, a provider of broadband communication for airlines, on a Boeing 737 aircraft in spring 2008. Based on that trial’s outcome, it plans to equip its 114-aircraft fleet.

Alaska Air said the technology will allow passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as laptop computers, PDAs, smartphones and portable gaming systems to have high-speed access to the Internet, e-mail, virtual private networks and stored in-flight entertainment content.

Customers connect to the system through wireless hotspots installed inside the aircraft cabin, the airline said.

Alaska Air said it and Row 44 have worked together for two years to bring in-flight broadband to market.

Bring it on!