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Fly Smarter With Sky-High Wi-Fi

Forget about graphics: Do you really need to view the stock art accompanying a news article you want to read? Turn off images in the browser so you're not wasting time waiting for photos to load (here are some how-to instructions).

Compress: If you've got to send large files while in flight, compress them by zipping them, usually done by right-clicking the icon and selecting the "zip" option.

Use email: Adding photos to Flickr or posting on Blogger could be troublesome in the air. You've first got to access the site, log in and then post and cross your fingers for a steady connection. An alternative is to use email, as suggested by Amit Agarwal in his "Digital Inspiration" blog. He lists 10 email addresses that are useful when you have no Internet connection that will let you do things like posting videos to your YouTube account or writing a blog post offline and emailing it to Blogger. But don't forget to limit file attachments when checking email by using the settings in the email program. A funny multi-megabyte video won't be so funny when it takes the whole flight to download

Save some money: If you travel often, consider a monthly pass. Delta, which charges $12 for 24 hours, also offers a monthly ($34.95) and annual pass ($399.95). If you don't have a favorite airline, Gogo sells a monthly pass for $39.99 good on all Gogo-equipped flights. Gogo, which provides service for 1,500 aircraft of major airlines, counts Delta, United Continental's (UAL) United Airlines and Frontier Airlines (FRNT) as clients.

Pick the right plane: Lastly, make sure the plane you're flying is equipped with Wi-Fi. Routehappy.com helps you target exact flights that offer Wi-Fi and power outlets, not to mention TV service and best on-time arrivals.

Also, here are links to airlines that currently offer Wi-Fi on some or all of their flights:

  • AirTran (AAI): Available on every flight.
  • Alaska Airlines (ALK): Available on almost every flight.
  • AMR's (AMR) American Airlines: Available on all 767-200 aircraft and select MD80 and 737 aircraft.
  • Delta: Available on "3,000 domestic daily flights."
  • Frontier Airlines: Available only on Embraer 190 aircraft.
  • JetBlue: Will install its first aircraft by first quarter 2013.
  • Southwest Airlines: Check Southwest's WiFi Finder for specific flights.
  • United Airlines: Service on three-cabin Boeing 757 aircraft between New York (JFK) and both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).
  • US Airways (LCC): Service on all Airbus A321 aircraft, and expanding to Embraer 190, 170 and 175 aircraft.
  • Virgin Air: Available on every flight.
  • This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
    Tamara Chuang is an outside contributor to TheStreet. Her opinions are her own.
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