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As airlines around the world deploy new satellite-based wi-fi systems, it’s becoming easier for passengers to stay connected to their terrestrial lives. But not every traveller is happy about it.

Yesterday’s column about the increasing availability of in-flight wi-fi resulted in a flood of comments on our Facebook page. Ironically, a reader from Missouri’s Webster University Global MBA Program was against the idea: “No! One of the benefits of traveling for work is the blissful few hours in flight with no emails or phone calls coming in.”

Trudy Olson agreed, noting she’d dislike being expected to use flight time for work. “Unfortunately, my company would then expect me to be ‘productive’ while I had access. But I'd hate it,” she said. “Flying time used to be my safe haven when travelling 100%. No phones, no computers, just me and my novel and my mp3 player.”

Other readers were eager to be early adopters, seeing wi-fi as an opportunity for entertainment. “Anything to pass away the long boring hours on an airplane,” Joanne Middleton said.

In the US, connections cost from $6 to $14 per flight depending on length, and for some readers, price was the deciding factor. But for curious travellers, several airlines are offering free connections on flights within the US.

Delta Air Lines flights will have free wi-fi throughout August. Once on board, log on to the Gogo system and enter the code DIETCOKEGOGO for a 30-minute trial.

Alaska Airlines flights will offer free connections in August and September for passengers surfing via smartphone.

Through 30 September, Virgin America’s Chrome Zone promotion lets passengers pick up a Google Chromebook from departure gates in Boston, San Francisco, Dallas or Chicago, take it for spin during the flight (with free Gogo wi-fi), and then return it at their arrival gate.  

Would you use in-flight internet access if the airline provided it? Leave your comments on our Facebook page

Chris McGinnis is the business travel columnist for BBC Travel

 

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