Short commuter flights aren’t so bad. You can pack an iPod or Nintendo DS and be satisfied for an hour or two. During longer flights, however, you may find yourself starved for an Internet connection.
We’re starting to see more airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi services, getting your smartphones and laptops connected to the world wide web, but these services usually come with a hefty fee. Southwest and Alaska Air could be shaking things up on that front.
Instead of charging you $15 or more for a few hours of Internet access while 30,000 feet in the air, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines could soon be offering their respective in-flight Wi-Fi connections for free to passengers.
Well, it’s not completely free. To pay for the JiWire-powered service, the airlines are planning on running it as an ad-supported system. The hardware and software installed by third-parties will direct you to the Skytown Center online catalog. These retailers and advertisers would then cover the cost of your Wi-Fi connection.
The goals is to have these ads pay for the entirety of the costs associated with the service, but if the partial subsidy is substantial, that could be better than paying $15 or more to check your email and update your Twitter.