Since I’ve asserted that being able to use one’s laptop to surf the web while traveling is an advantage of taking the train as opposed to driving, I should note that soon one will be able to surf while flying as well.
Southwest Airlines is joining Virgin America, American, Delta, United and others in offering Wi-Fi on its flights. The airline just finished its first round of testing on four different aircraft and has decided to roll out Wi-Fi across its entire fleet.
While everything from YouTube (YouTube) to email was allowed during the test of Southwest’s Wi-Fi, you’re probably not going to be able to use VoIP, Skype (Skype), or video chatting. This is a restriction most airlines place on their Wi-Fi service in order to limit possibly disruptive chatter and noise for its other customers.
There’s no word on prices or exactly when every flight will have Wi-Fi, but the target is the first quarter in 2010.
Train WiFi may wind up being cheaper, and they would be able to provide power outlets. That’s less of an issue for a short hop like Houston to Dallas, of course, but overall I daresay the experience of using a laptop on a train will be better than on a plane. Regardless, my original comparison was to car travel, which still stands. Nonetheless, WiFi while you fly will be an option as well.