I've seen the Airphones used a lot on UA
! I've even had so many people using them that all outbound lines were occupied causing people to essentially "wait their turn"! (Internationally and Domestic!)
One flight I worked (ORD
-Narita) a business class passenger on the upper deck of the 744 had his laptop connected from the conclusion of the first service until about two hours out of Narita. I'm not overstating either, we talked a lot during the flight and he needed me to show him how to connect his laptop. That phone bill must have been enormous especially since the rates change when we get out over international waters!
I'm almost certain UA
has a deal with Verizon that our 1k and Premiere fliers can get volume discounts. I know I get a discount too as an employee. It's not as cheap as a cell phone but if you need to make a call the option is there! Also if we're talking about business travellers, a fifty dollar phone call to help seal a multi million dollar deal is a drop in the bucket!
has completed JetConnect, the usage rates are going way up! JetConnect is a low-band connection for laptop users to check email and IM
people. There are a few other services too, but the cool thing is it's a flat fee for the flight.
The debate continues... Starwood or Hyatt... which is better