In-flight Internet, to a degree, might be closer than we think. While we know that some airliners have embraced and then backed down upon full-fledged Cell or Internet access on planes, at least one U.S. airliner is actually now debuting some services like this.
JetBlue is looking to offer in-flight email and certain instant messaging. There's a few gotchas here, some of them a bit odd. Laptops, for instance, will only have access to email and messaging from Yahoo. The services are more expanded on the BlackBerry – provided you have the right model. Should you have a BlackBerry that supports Wi-Fi, you will be able to check other email as well.
The system seems quite limited and indeed it is – but it is a step up from nothing. If it proves feasible, at the very least it might pave the way for other airliners to consider opening up flights. Unfortunately for other airliners, the frequencies JetBlue is using to communicate with the ground are their own. Other airliners will have to come up with other solutions.