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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The peanuts are free, but the Wi-Fi'll cost you

Wi-Fi in the skies. How long until there's a terrorist warning on this one?

Boeing and iPass say it'll be just six months before many more travelers can whip out their laptops and log in to the Net using a Wi-Fi connection at 30,000 feet. For now, only German carrier Lufthansa offers this, but Boeing says seven additional airlines are wiring their planes for wireless surfing.

This is cool, and I'll probably use it, but here's my prediction. We're going to hear about a terrorist component to this soon. We'll hear about al-Qaida planning coordinated attacks onboard by using instant message-equipped laptops, and then Homeland Security will get involved. We'll have an air marshal stationed in the cockpit reading through plaintext versions of all messages sent. (How's that for Monday morning optimism?)

Anyway, one research firm ebulliently predicts this market will be worth $200 million to $300 million in 2008, up from about $10 million this year.