Several major airlines plan to roll out in-flight Internet service next year, USA Today reports. Carriers have been promising in-flight surfing for years, and now American, Lufthansa, Qantas, and Southwest are working with tech companies to deliver the midair surfing. The travel slump following 9/11 delayed the introduction of the service, which may not be widely available until 2009.
Competition for contracts to provide the service is fierce. Most carriers will use satellites to relay a signal from the plane to the ground, and passengers will probably pay a set per-flight fee. Lufthansa offered internet on its flights from 2004 to 2006, but the technology at that time was too heavy and expensive to be viable.