JetBlue to Push Email

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was announced that JetBlue Airways Corp.'s LiveTV Unit has agreed to buy Verizon Communications Inc.'s Airfone network. Airfone owns and operates 100 air-to-ground communications towers in the continental United States. The move will boost LiveTV's ability to offer email and other broadband messaging services on its airplanes.

Together JetBlue, American, Continental, and Virgin America are conducting tests of Wi-Fi connectivity for email and instant messaging on their airplanes. There are two providers of air-to-ground communications for airline use. One is Airfone and the other is AirCell LLC, based in Itasca, Ill.

This announcement is very significant for all airline travelers, especially business travelers who will benefit from having access to email during long flights. Email access will be a welcome service on airplanes, but is it not clear yet how much the service will cost. Let's hope it's not as expensive as the original credit-card-operated phones that disappeared in part due to the high cost of the service.

... Bob Spurzem

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