Start your laptops: Airlines expand Wi-Fi


It's shaping up to be a week of good news from the airlines. (Savor it. They don't come often.) Today, the happy news blast is from AirTran Airways, which has announced that starting this summer, all of its flights will have Wi-Fi on board.

By late July, the thick of summer travel, all 136 of the carrier's jets will have wireless Internet for any passenger who wants to use it. Granted, it will be at a cost of $7.95 to $12.95 per flight, depending on how long the flight is.

I would rather pay per round-trip ticket myself, especially in the case of AirTran, which forces many passengers to connect and change planes in Atlanta. So that $7.95 could potentially become four charges, or nearly $32, for your whole journey if you're on a trip that requires connections.

The service will be handled by Gogo, a company that's racing to fit most of the major carriers with in-flight service. But AirTran will be the first sizable carrier to outfit every aircraft. Virgin America will have all its planes ready by May 25, but it only has 28 planes, and Delta and American are working to outfit their major jets, but their small regional planes will probably never have it. Still, by the end of the year, some 1,000 North American commercial jets will have it. Five months ago, about 30 did.