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Your Guide To Airlines Providing WiFi And Devices You Can Use When Flying

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The availability of WiFi on airplanes continues to grow, and more and more travelers are using their Pads, laptops and hand held devices while flying. But airlines are a hodgepodge of planes and service routes, and it's hard to keep up with 'who offers what', at 'this cost or that', and exactly what technology is needed. We take a look here at the major airlines serving the US, what they offer, what you'll pay, and then look at major retailers WalMart and Best Buy for items guaranteed to having you 'surfing across the sky', and maybe at a price much lower than you expected.

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Let's start with the big three airlines in revenue for 2012 (and projected for 2013):

Delta Airlines WiFi available on Delta 500 aircrafts and on select 757-200 and MD9-50 flights

  • 24 hour pass $14
  • One month pass $39.95
  • Annual pass $469.95

United Airlines Wifi available on 82% of A319 planes, 58% of 747-400 planes, 54% of A320 planes, 3% of 737, 757, 767, 777, 787 planes

  • $4.95-$19.95 for mobile devices
  • $11-$49 for computer devices.
  • Usage sold by flight and price varies by time in air and distance. No monthly or annual passes available currently.

Southwest Airlines Offers a lookup feature online to find if your upcoming flight has WiFi

  • Internet access is $8 a day per device and movies are $5.
  • Also offering FREE live and on-demand television compliments of Dish Network, including 13 live channels and up to 75 popular television series episodes.

Tablets that will work when flying:

You can get your "fly ready tablets" these days in a variety of sizes, prices and even colors! Here are four options (of hundreds) available:

  • Thinking inexpensive? How about an RCA 7" Tablet with 8GB Memory for $79.95? Available in four colors and free shipping is available.
  • Full size with more features? For a full size tablet (10 inch), check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10" Tablet with 16GB Memory. It's available in two colors and free shipping is available.
  • IPad lovers unite! Check out Best Buy's complete line of WiFi compatible devices, also available with free shipping.
  • Want a tablet, but don't want to give up your keyboard? Try the Acer - Iconia W5 Series 10.1 inch Tablet with USB dock. Use it like a laptop, use it like a tablet. It's a powerful cookie!

Other major airlines and WiFi capability:

American Airlines According to website, "domestic WiFi is now available on nearly all of our US flights".

  • $14 for a day pass
  • $39.95 for a monthly pass
  • Also offers "Holiday Bonus Packs" for gifts.

US Airways Wifi available on select A321 flights

  • All day pass for $14
  • Auto renewable monthly pass for $33.95
  • Also offering holiday bonus purchases of 'buy 1, get 3 free'.

Air Tran WiFi available on all Air Tran flights

  • $4.95 - $19.95 for mobile devices
  • $11.00 - $49.00 for computer devices (Daily or monthly)

Alaska Airlines WiFi available on 737-800 and 737-900 flights

  • $4.95 - $19.95 for mobile devices
  • $11.00 - $49.00 for computer devices (Daily or monthly)

Frontier Airlines WiFi available on Embraer 190 aircraft

  • WiFi access priced according to length of flight
  • Monthly 'Traveler Pass' available for $24.95

Virgin America WiFi available on A319 and A320 flights

  • $2.00 for 30 minutes session on a handheld device
  • $4.95 - $19.95 for mobile devices
  • $11.00 - $49.00 for computer devices (Daily or monthly)

Hawaiian Airlines, Midwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines currently do not offer WiFi service on their flights, although there are rumors about several offering it in the future. According to Jet Blue's website, WiFi to be introduced in the 'fall of 2013'. Allegiant Air announced in late 2012 that Row 44 WiFi service would be implemented in 2013. No details available.

This information changes daily, so always check the individual airline websites for updates and additions!

And have a safe trip!

Follow my Examiner articles on the Cruise Industry, Airlines and Budget Travel and forward them via Facebook, Twitter, G+ or other social media. Visit my daily Disney travel website Mickeyopolis, and follow me on Twitter @BigBlueMan (personal), @Mickeyopolis (Disney travel news & info) or @ELOTravelInfo (travel updates & information).

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