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USAIR FIRST TO OFFER SEATBACK PHONE/COMPUTER SYSTEM

 USAIR FIRST TO OFFER SEATBACK PHONE/COMPUTER SYSTEM
 ARLINGTON, Va., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- USAir has become the


nation's first airline in the skies with "FlightLink" -- a sophisticated new communications system featuring a telephone and interactive computer video screen in individual seats.
 The system is being installed aboard the 10 Boeing 757s that are joining the USAir fleet this year.
 "We're proud and delighted to offer passengers the opportunity to evaluate this exciting new technology," said USAir Executive Vice President of Customer Services John R. Long.
 "FlightLink is a dramatic improvement over existing aircraft telephone systems and puts USAir on the leading edge of passenger service. This is another concrete example of what we mean when we say, 'USAir Begins With You,'" Long said.
 With FlightLink, a development of In-Flight Phone Corp. of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., passengers initially will be able to place telephone calls on static-free digital connections; send fax messages; access stock quotes; and play a variety of electronic games.
 According to Rene Phillips, manager of aircraft interior planning and design, even more exciting additions are planned for the months ahead. They include:
 -- Displays of connecting gate information and visual maps of
 various airports;
 -- A means for passengers to connect their own laptop computers
 via modem to ground-based systems;
 -- Weather reports, major news events and city guides;
 -- Live sports and entertainment broadcasts;
 -- A paging service that will allow anyone on the ground to send
 a message to a passenger's seat via an 800 number;
 -- An innovative service called Key Express with which passengers
 will be able to bypass lines at hotel and car rental check-in
 counters.
 "I think passengers will be very responsive," said Mickey Cohen, assistant vice president for airworthiness. It's a new technology that they've never seen before and they'll be fascinated."
 Cohen has been overseeing the technical side of the new system's installation, which has been folded into the refurbishing of the 757s as they are prepared for delivery to USAir.
 "If successful in the test aboard the 757s -- both in passenger acceptance and technical performance -- USAir will install FlightLink in other aircraft types," Cohen said.
 To use the new service, a passenger removes the handset from the underside of the armrest. A menu on the video screen lists the services, simple use instructions and graphics.
 Flight attendants will not be involved in cash transactions since all charges will be paid for by credit card. The customer simply slides the card through an automatic reader in the handset to use the system.
 Telephone calls will cost $2 per minute with no set-up fee. Data services, such as the stock quotes and games, will be free during the trial period. In-Flight Phone will establish prices for the data services following the evaluation period.
 Aside from the appeal to consumers, the new technology also offers potential operational benefits to the airline. These include an alternative to existing air-to-ground communications and dispatching functions.
 FlightLink system is owned by In-Flight Phone Corp., which provides for the installation of the equipment. USAir receives a commission on revenues generated by the system.
 "We think FlightLink is a winner," said Long. "It will help make the business and pleasure traveler's time aloft more pleasant and productive and positions USAir as an innovative passenger-oriented airline."
 -0- 5/20/92
 /CONTACT: USAir Corporate Communications, 703-418-5100, or 213-417-1294 (Western Region)/
 (U) CO: USAir; In-Flight Phone Corp. ST: Virginia; Illinois IN: AIR TLS SU: PDT


MH -- DC006 -- 2193 05/20/92 09:04 EDT
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 20, 1992
Words:577
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