Internet access at 35,000 feet

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As I sat on Continental flight 548 to San Francisco over the weekend, I realized that my hectic fast-paced life had come to a screeching halt. My cell phone was off and my computer was tucked safely away in its carry case -- then I wondered: would I pay for Internet access on a plane?

I love what I do. I also realize how lucky I am to have a job that is my hobby and an all-consuming part of my life, but where does it end? Do we owe it to ourselves to take a little refuge now and then and get away from it all?

Technology will catch up -- as it has over the past few years -- and infiltrate every part of our lives. GSM networks have made communicating while traveling the world a basic part of what we do. Wireless hotspots are cropping up all over the place -- even McDonald's and Starbucks have them. In some areas entire streets are being offered Internet access.

The fact is, the technology is coming. Boeing has already tested their in-flight Internet service and Lufthansa has used a Boeing-based service on their overseas flights.

Continental currently offers a scaled down version of Internet access with its JetConnect service, but I find it too expensive for what you get. Basically you can use Instant Messaging and get weather information, stock quotes, etc. for $15.98 per flight segment.

Knowing the technology is coming and knowing how much work I have to do when I get to the hotel today, I say bring it on. I'd pay the $15.00 for full Internet access with decent speed.

If I need some time away from the phone and computer, I'll go back to Cancun, where they don't offer Internet access -- but at least I'll be able to check my email and surf the Web on the way!

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