Airlines and Detroit agree...When in doubt, make it wireless!


In an odd coincidence, both American Airlines and the Chrysler corporation recently made major strides towards offering wireless connectivity to their customers. In the case of American, this means that it is partnering with Aircell LLC to install broadband service on planes. Ultimately, the carrier hopes to offer connectivity on all its aircraft, charging between $9.95 and $12.95 per passenger.

On June 25, American tested out the new technology on a few select flights. It will be interesting to see what happens when this program goes through, as other airlines (including Virgin America and JetBlue) are already making plans to adopt broadband on their flights. While ten bucks is a lot to pay for a couple hours worth of internet connectivity, the ability to surf the net, check e-mail, and play websudoku might make flights go a lot faster. Given the recent spate of stress-related outbursts and breakdowns on airplanes, it seems like anything that could help relax passengers would be a blessing. On the other hand, it's worth noting that many intercity bus lines are already offering free internet access to their patrons.

Which brings us to Chrysler. In 2009, the automaker will begin equipping its Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models with its "uconnect" system, a dealer-installed wireless internet router. It will work over cell phone channels, and will carry a monthly fee. The system will use Wi-Fi, so users won't have to worry about running down their cell phone batteries or hooking up all sorts of cords. Ultimately, Chrysler hopes to make the system standard on all cars.