I have flown jets with WiFi before. Lufthansa used to have a great WiFi service that Boeing managed, but with poor timing, they disconnected the service just as WiFi became popular. But in the U.S., WiFi on airplanes is back. I am now on a Delta flight JFK – Miami and find myself blogging at 30,000 ft. I love it. But for my friends in old media, WiFi on planes may become the straw that broke the camel’s back. Airplanes, precisely because they had no connection, were the last place where print publications thrived. Indeed, just today, before boarding, and not knowing that there was WiFi on the plane, I spent $45 dollars including over $7 just for the Economist. But with WiFi at $10 per flight, I will just not buy magazines and papers anymore. Nor will millions of people. Print is heavy, bad for the planet, and with tablets becoming commonplace few will continue to consume it.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Haim on June 26, 2010  · 

You are so internet dependent! (Internet Addiction Syndrome= IAD ) Call me old fashion, but when I fly I read books, listen to music, watch movies, and even I may communicate with the guy sitting next to me. Said so, I agree that a better technology has to be offered to the pilots, if avaialble.

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Fabricio on June 27, 2010  · 

I don’t know… I would be down with digitizing many printed media but still, to my surprise, I enjoy ‘grabbing’ feeling and smelling the paper of a good magazine.I jumped to the internet aggressively in ’95 maybe hoping to one day having editorials in a digital form. I guess I underestimated my senses.

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Fernando Gutierrez on July 1, 2010  · 

The bad thing about electronic devices on board is all the restrictions that airlines invent all time. Also battery life can be a problem.

I’m not sure if I will stop buying The Economist (also my plane favorite), it gives you a few hours of interesting reading and it doesn’t depend on systems working. I once flew from Chile to Spain with the entertainment system broken in all the plane and no battery in my laptop. If it weren’t for the book I had with me it would have been 15 really boring hours.

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