Outlook Good for Free Wifi on Trains, Planes

The price of connectivity looks poised to plummet to zero as planes and trains experiment with offering free onboard wifi. So far, airlines have charged for hopping on the web, usually connected to the length of the flight. Costs range from a few bucks to over $10 a pop, and adoption has been on the slow side. Perhaps people are reluctant to let go of their last vestige of disconnection while in flight, or they just don’t want to pay another damn fee; whatever the reason, airlines are now trying to woo passengers by offering wifi as a free perk. We already told you that Virgin America and Google have a special holiday deal running from mid-November through January 15, but more airlines are following suit.

American Airlines has teamed up with Lexus to offer free wifi for a week on all its flights now through November 7th (code: 2010LEXUSLS), and AirTran has a BOGO deal going, which isn’t exactly free, but it still counts as free-ish. Amtrak is the real game changer, as it recently announced that all its fast Acela trains will feature free wifi by 2010, which finally might make the trains a better option than a flight. With airlines testing the free-wifi waters, and Amtrak going balls-to-the-wall free, charging for net access may soon go the same route to extinction as the pay-per-view in-flight movie.

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