American Airlines will begin testing broadband service on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. The new service is a joint effort of American Airlines and Aircell and will expand to other flights in the next few weeks for further testing. According to the report:

Passengers will be able to download videos, use email, instant messaging and access corporate networks using their laptops or handheld devices.

Aircell’s Gogo service will be free today. Once the initial test phase is complete, it will cost $12.95 for passengers to use the service on flights longer than three hours and $9.95 for shorter flights. Voice-based functions will not be enabled.

The system will control the flow of data so users downloading movies or large files will not interfere with other passengers accessing email.

This is an opportune time for the airlines increase revenues to try and off set the rising cost of fuel. Some other suggestions, beside charging for your luggage, should be:

  • Charging to use the in flight restrooms. Toilet paper should also be extra.
  • ¬†On coast to coast flights, have the pilot announce that the plane is low on fuel, and see if anyone would like to chip in a few bucks.
  • Charge extra for smooth landings that do not scare the crap out of everyone on board. I once landed in San Francisco, and Captain Kangaroo, bounced us in to the terminal.

Comments welcome.