US Airlines are on the verge of enhancing your in-flight experience by offering access to the Internet, e-mail, and instant messenger.   Wi-Fi, which is deemed as safe in-flight technology, is now becoming an option for US carrier

s. Seen as another way for airlines to generate more revenue, it will also give airlines a competitive edge against each other and over trains, buses and automobiles.    Back in 2005, German airline Lufthansa first offered in-flight Internet access through Boeing’s Connexion Internet service. Passengers paid $10 per hour or $27 for the duration of the flight to access the service, also known as FlyNet. Passengers enjoyed the service but not the fees forcing Boeing to cancel Connexion and ending Wi-Fi on Lufthansa flights at the close of 2006.    In January Southwest Airlines announced it will be the first US carrier to test satellite-delivered broadband Internet access on multiple aircrafts by partnering with Row 44, “a fast, global, fleet-wide solution for in-flight broadband services -- high-speed Internet, video entertainment, cell phone support, and airline operational services” according to the airline’s press release.   The same month, American Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier, began installing equipment for high-speed Internet service on jetliners used for cross-country trips. Aircell LLC is providing the equipment for both American and Virgin America carriers.   Last December, JetBlue Airways began testing Yahoo and Blackberry e-mail and instant messaging services on one flight and received mixed reviews - the biggest criticism being the lack of power outlets on the plane.   Though most US airlines at this point are still in the early stages of planning, in-flight Wi-Fi, like Internet access in most places, is inevitable.   Kathleen Clark L’Atelier     FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at