Using the excuse that you were "in mid-flight" and couldn't retrieve your e-mails until "just this minute", may be redundant if trials by Singapore Airlines (SIA) of a global in-flight e-mail system prove successful.
The trials aboard two Boeing 747-400 aircraft, to begin in November, will use a satellite based communications network to operate the system developed by Tenzing Communications.
A spokesperson for SIA said access would be trialed in first and business class, at no fee.
"Customers will access their e-mail and the Internet through their own laptop computer, with one aircraft offering plug-in modem access, and the other using infra-red technology."
SIA's system will enable e-mail access from anywhere in the world, and Web browsing of hundreds of thousands of Web pages from a cache downloaded before the flight's departure.