United Airlines lands wireless Web at airports

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From: jeremie kass (jeremie@monkey.org)
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 19:32:56 PDT


I found the lead on this story amusing:

"United Airlines said today it will install wireless Internet access in
   its lounges and waiting areas, enabling disgruntled passengers to
   email complaints directly from the Red Carpet Club."

This should be a nice combination with Wayport's 802.11 service for
hotels and airports.

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/cn/20001003/tc/united_airlines_lands_wireless_web_at_airports_2.html

   Tuesday October 03 09:00 PM EDT
   United Airlines lands wireless Web at airports
   
   By Stephanie Miles, CNET News.com
   
   United Airlines said today it will install wireless Internet access in
   its lounges and waiting areas, enabling disgruntled passengers to
   email complaints directly from the Red Carpet Club.
   
   United's plan will eliminate the need for passengers who own
   wireless-enabled laptops and handheld computers to use modem-equipped
   pay phones or lounge telephones. The installation will allow them to
   use a wireless connection to read email, surf the Web or even check
   online to see whether their flight has been canceled.
   
   United is developing its wireless plan in partnership with SoftNet
   Systems subsidiary Aerzone, which specializes in network access for
   business travelers.
   
   Many laptop computers and personal digital assistants now offer
   wireless modems. Dell Computer, IBM and Apple Computer offer wireless
   connections in their new notebooks. Palm, Handspring and Compaq
   Computer have wireless modems for their handheld computers.
   
   Market research firm Cahners predicts the wireless networking market
   will grow from $771 million last year to $2.2 billion in 2004, driven
   primarily by demand from business professionals.
   
   The wireless hubs will be placed in United's Red Carpet Club, airport
   lounges, gate areas, terminals, first-class lounges and frequent flier
   centers, United and Aerzone said. United's plan includes offering
   high-speed wireless access via radio frequency 802.11.
   
   Subscriptions will be available on a onetime or monthly basis. United
   did not disclose when the service will be available and has not yet
   decided how much to charge for a subscription.
   
   "We recognize the value of our customers' time and the new
   United-Aerzone product will make it possible for our customers to use
   their laptops from nearly anywhere," Graham Atkinson, senior vice
   president of marketing for United, said in a statement.
   
   United already offers its Mobile Chariot, a portable passenger
   check-in podium that uses a wireless Internet connection to
   communicate with the United reservations network. The airline, which
   has been criticized this summer for rampant flight delays and
   cancellations, also provides access to its flight schedule via the
   Palm VII, which has wireless Internet access, and through cell phones
   that offer Web access.
   
   Currently, most airports offer Internet access only through
   modem-equipped pay phones or regular phone lines. But these are
   frequently unavailable, United noted, in part because there are more
   passengers who want Internet access than there are pay phones or open
   modems.
   
   Aerzone is working on a similar project for Delta Air Lines, which
   will be finished sometime in 2001. Both Delta and United will likely
   offer business services, such as printing and access to corporate
   networks, in their first-class lounges, in addition to wireless
   Internet access in the terminals, an Aerzone representative said.
   
   United's plans are subject to approval of individual airports.
   
   Although United is offering a cutting-edge service, the airline has
   also run into technology-related problems this summer. In June, the
   company's Web site locked visitors out of popular United content. The
   same month, United and American Airlines both disclosed they were
   inspecting faulty wiring used to power laptop computers during
   flights.
   
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