Surf the net from seat 4B

Cruise ships have had it for some time, so it was only a matter of when airlines would offer net access to passengers. The appropriately named has announced an agreement with web portal Lycos Inc. to become the world’s first provider of in-flight Internet and intranet services.

Inflightonline will offer intranet and Internet access with Lycos content and services. Other services will include e-mail capability, hotel/car/flight reservation services, audio/video on-demand, as well as news, weather, sports, financial information and a large assortment of reference/research material. The system will be able to carry more than one million Web pages, more than enough to cover a trip to Australia.

“Lycos is the first portal to have an in-flight ISP agreement and this service arena offers a tremendous market opportunity,” says Jeff Crown, vice president of corporate development at Lycos.

Inflightonline will be using airborne data servers linked to existing seat-back telephone handsets to deliver the service. The connection from server to seat will operate at a fast rate and will offer free intranet shopping and browsing, as well as access to the Internet.
&l;PInflightonline is currently in negotiations with three airlines and plans to begin service as soon as April, 2000. This will be an excellent way to while away the hours on those long international flights, although it may put a damper on in-flight conversation. Whatever the result, it won’t be long before you seat mate is asking you to move your dinner tray over a bit, to give him more “mousing” room.