We’ve been promised inflight Wi-Fi before—last year there was news that Jet Blue was thinking about offering it to customers—but so far it’s still not available on U.S. flights. Now American Airlines has announced that it has partnered with AirCell, a Colorado-based communications provider, to launch a cabin-wide Wi-Fi system early next year.

Cross-continental flights will no longer be dead time for communications, as fliers will be able to access the Web, and email, through any Wi-Fi-ready machine.

The price hasn’t been determined, but AirCell execs have suggested that it could be as little as $10 per user for a transcontintental flight. That’s pennies for time-crunched business travelers hoping to get work done. But the system could also offer a great escape route for someone sitting in a cramped cabin. Imagine spending a few hours playing World of Warcraft or hanging out in Second Life instead of jostling for elbow room.—Gregory Mone