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Is In-flight Web Access a Good Thing?

I was convinced the answer was YES! Airlines, many of which have stopped giving away tiny bags of pretzels in an effort to contain costs, would love the opportunity to tap a new revenue stream. Passengers, who already are willing to pay to access the net in the airport, would surely be willing to fork over $10 to jump online from a comfortable cruising altitude of 28,000 feet. To me, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when. That was until I spoke with a vice president of corporate strategy at a major telecommunications company.

I was operating under the assumption most (if not all) business travelers want to be connected and would be willing to pay a premium for it. But, as he pointed out, many business travelers cherish their quiet time in the sky because it’s one of the last places they can go without being tethered to the office.

With JetBlue already online and American Airlines installing and testing broadband technology on all of its Boeing 767-200 aircraft this year, it looks like there’s no where left to hide for business travelers.

All you business travelers out there—I’d love to hear if you’re excited about the thought of in-flight web access.

Let the productivity gains begin!

Shawn Graham is an Associate Director with the MBA Career Management Center at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (www.courtingyourcareer.com).

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