Travelers Blues

Plug It In

Your airplane seat just got one step closer to being a virtual office. American Airlines now gives many fliers power for their laptop computers.

This month, American begins outfitting 10 aircraft with electrical outlets that permit in-flight computer use shortly after takeoff. The first outlets will be on trans-Atlantic flights between London and New York City and Boston. Eventually, the airline will put outlets in its first- and business-class sections on domestic flights.

"We figured it would be a real plus if travelers have a power port they can plug into and not worry about batteries," says Bill Dreslin of American Airlines. "This feature has widespread appeal for business travelers."

American joins Delta Air Lines in offering the power ports, and, at press time, at least one other major airline was also testing new outlets.

Travelers still need to bring adaptors to use the new seat-back outlets. Appropriate adaptors are the same kind used to plug laptops into car cigarette lighters.

On a similar note, American is still planning to install technology that allows travelers to send fax transmissions from their seats via phone, says Dreslin. All American Airlines aircraft should offer this option by midyear.

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This article was originally published in the January 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Travelers Blues.

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