GoGo Inflight Internet provide onboard wi-fi on American Airlines, Delta, Virgin America, US Airways and United. Unlike Australia where in-flight internet has never taken off (pardon the pun), in-flight internet in the USA is on almost all airlines, and reasonably priced too.
On my flight from New York to Chicago (from which I am blogging now!), I purchased a 90 minute pass for $9 (regular price was $12 but I tweeted to GoGo and got a discount code!). Data usage isn’t capped, and speeds were quite reasonable for general web browsing/email. You can start surfing the web about 5 minutes after take off.
If you’re doing a number of domestic USA flights, consider the the $39.95 monthly pass.
You can read more information at http://www.gogoair.com.
I’d recommend signing up for an account before you leave (you don’t have to buy anything at that point – it just makes it quicker to get online when you’re onboard the plane) You can pre-purchase a pass to use, or just wait until you’re onboard and buy after connecting to the GoGo online portal in your web browser.
In relation to an onboard wi-fi offering by Qantas, they’ve trialled it but the take-up of it by customers was low (less than 5%) and they decide to abandon the idea and instead concentrate on upgrading wi-fi connectivity in Qantas terminals. (Source: Qantas Media Response 3 December 2012). I wonder whether this had anything to do with the extremely expensive pricing (I recall in their international trial it was about $20 for a measly 10MB or something like that – a single email could chew up that data allowance!)