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CNN Today

Airlines and Hotels Woo Business Travelers with Internet Access

Aired August 4, 2000 - 1:17 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Business travelers are worth big bucks to the travel industry, so hotels, airports, and airlines are making sure they keep those customers happy.

Here's CNN's Jim Morelli.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM MORELLI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another week, another business trip for Jeff Dossey, an Internet consultant in Atlanta.

JEFF DOSSEY, INTERNET CONSULTANT: I would say, on an average year, I would have 30 to 35 business trips a year.

MORELLI: The travel industry values frequent customers like Dossey, and it's come up with some ways to make life easier on the road. By the end of the year, Northwest Airlines hopes to offer virtually line-free travel, with both ticket and boarding pass printable from any PC. The era of sky-surfing will begin in a few months with Air Canada testing in-flight Internet access and e-mail on six of its aircraft. Back on the ground, high-speed wiring is the selling point at some hotels. But even that's becoming old hat.

CHRIS MCGINNIS, TRAVELSKILLS.COM: You know, the hotels are going to go to all this expense of getting a hard-wire into each room, and by the time they do that, everyone's going to be using wireless modems.

MORELLI: Delta Airlines has seen that light. It's planning to install wireless antenna nodes in its crown rooms and gates. But even travelers not carting a laptop can throw a line from bed to Web. st@yon-line.com expects to install networked computers in 300 U.S. hotels by the end of the year.

CARY EVANS, ST@YON-LINE.COM: When you have a computer in the room, 60 percent, if it's business travel, will take advantage of this.

MORELLI: Of course, not every travel innovation runs on electricity. Westin Hotels just spent $30 million re-engineering that most humble of hotel features: the bed. (on camera): It's no surprise the industry is catering to business travelers. They make more money, they spend more, and even in this age of teleconferencing and e-mail, their numbers are growing.

Jim Morelli, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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