Flying no longer an excuse to be off of e-mail

With the advent of cell phones and then Blackberrys, there’s pretty much nowhere the Hollywood pro can claim to be unreachable — except the airplane.

But no longer. American Airlines, the nation’s biggest carrier (and no. 2 in the world), is the latest to make a major commitment to in-flight wi-fi. According to USA Today, most of its domestic flights will have the service soon. Competitors Delta has already said it will do the same by the end of next year. Virgin America has a similar plan, while Southwest and JetBlue are experimenting wtih the technology.

Used to having a respite on that five hour New York – L.A. flight? Or even an hour shooting up to San Francisco and back? No longer. If somebody shoots an important email your way and you take several hours to respond, you can’t just say “sorry, I was on an airplane.” They’ll expect you spend the $8-$13 per flight to connect a laptop of wi-fi enabled mobile device along the way.

In good news, you still can’t pick use a cellular device on a plane. And voice-over-IP services are blocked for the time being. So you don’t have to talk to anyone from work, at least.

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