Re: New passenger services keep fliers in touch

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 9 Oct 1996 11:09:44 -0400

More cool stuff: inflight gambling coupled with inflight ATMs. This
*cannot* be a good idea...=20

As for the airfone pricing, USAT hints elsewhwer that the real big win is
the possibility of a $30 unlimited-calling December holiday card from GTE.
Oh man oh man.. RK

Preview: What you will be seeing in airplane cabins

The World Airline Entertainment Association's conference is an ideal plac=
to preview what's coming to airplane cabins. WAEA members work for 300
airlines, making decisions on everything from movies to safety videos. Mo=
than 1,000 airline representatives and suppliers attended last week's sho=

=95Airfone pricing: GTE Airfone is cutting prices for short phone calls f=
airplanes, dropping the price of a 1-minute call to $6.27 from $15. GTE
Airfone hinted at new prices last week, but didn't plan to unveil them
until they took effect Nov. 1. It decided to change its plans after a USA
TODAY story Monday on falling prices for in-flight phones. GTE launched a
$15-a-call rate in May and has been testing flat-rate pricing for shorter
calls made from its seat-back airplane phones on TWA and the USAir Shuttl=
Starting Nov. 1, GTE will charge $2.99 a minute up to a maximum $15 for a
call. Callers also will pay a $2.99 set-up fee and 29 cents a minute. GTE
has phones on Delta, Midwest Express, Reno, TWA, United and USAir.=20

=95Airborne ATM: Cathay Pacific and Swissair are expected to be the first
airlines to test a currency exchange machine on their planes - in March.
The ATM+ was developed by Aero-Design Technology, which made the first
trash compactor for airlines. Fliers insert credit cards, debit cards or
bank ATM cards into the ATM+ and receive paper currency and coins from th=
country of their destination. The ATM+ also can dispense stored-value
cards, such as telephone calling cards or debit cards that could be used
for in-flight gambling. Future versions of the ATM+ will dispense postage
stamps and traveler's checks.=20

=95Seat watching: Interactive entertainment systems at passengers' seats =
be the wave of the future but some airlines are turning to a simpler,
cheaper solution: The Sony Video Walkman. Sony Trans Com, a division of
Sony Electronics, says sales of the Video Walkman to airlines are brisk.
Though Sony Trans Com is developing an in-seat interactive entertainment
system, it won't be ready to fly on airlines until 1998. "This is an
interim solution for airlines that want interactive entertainment without
hard-wiring the whole airplane," says Hank Evers, Sony Trans Com marketin=
director. Like a hand-held VCR, the Video Walkman allows the user to stop=
start, fast forward or play back movies viewed on a 4-inch color screen.
Among airlines using the Video Walkman in first and business classes:
American Airlines, United Airlines, Thai Airways, Canadian International
Airlines and Varig from Argentina. Combining 1995 and 1996 sales, Sony
estimates it will have sold 15,000 Video Walkmans to airlines by Dec. 31.

=95Dry air solution: Dry air is one of fliers' biggest complaints. They'=
not griping for nothing: Cabin air in first class has about a 4% humidity
level; coach class 8% to 12%. That compares with 30% to 50% humidity in a=
on the ground. Those statistics come from Canada's Air Data and France's =
Bozec, two companies that make the Humisphere system to increase humidity
on airplanes. The Humisphere, which is already used on some corporate jet=
can raise humidity to 25%. No major airlines have installed the Humispher=
but Qantas is testing it in the cockpit and Singapore Airlines plans to
test it.
By Donna Rosato, USA TODAY