Flying has become a little less glamorous

Delays are commonplace. Cancellations are regular, too. And even the latest planes, like the Boeing 737 MAX, seem to have been created with commercial exigencies more prominent than those of, say, safety.

This does sound like glorious news

Then again, why would airlines quickly want to offer something useful for free? Could it be that it won’t be as free as it seems? Airlines have recently shown a tendency to give with one hand and and slip three more into every available passenger pocket. Sneaky nickel-and-diming charges have become one of those norms you’re supposed to put up with and hate airlines for. It’s worth considering, then, how passengers might have to pay for the joy of staying on Instagram on a six-hour flight.

Excellent free Wi-Fi may even become a absolute point of difference

The airline decided to configure its 737 MAX with as many seats as possible. It reduced legroom, even in First Class. It shoved in thinner seats, resembling those on buses. It removed seatback screens, insisting that most people use their own devices. (You’re a family of five? Please make sure you have five iPads or at least a lot of nice big iPhones.)

Excellent free Wi-Fi may even become a absolute point of difference.

Will Americans choose — when they have a choice — to fly an airline whose Wi-Fi is better than that of others, as well as free? Currently, American’s Wi-Fi , for example, is far more decisive than, say, United’s. Talking of whom, here’s another headline from last week: “United Airlines wants Wi-Fi to be free.”