USAir business travelers get 'office'


You can fly, but you can't hide.

New technology from USAir ensures that the business traveler won't be far from the office, even five miles up.

The airline is equipping all of the seats on one of its new Boeing 757 jets with Sky Office, a communication system that includes a telephone, fax and a small video screen set into each seat back.

The plane will be delivered to the airline this month. Eventually, all 10 757s USAir has leased from defunct Eastern Airlines will carry the Sky Office equipment.

"This will be quite something," USAir spokesman Larry Pickett said. "Passengers will be able to make telephone calls, send faxes and even play video games."

And by pressing the telephone buttons to spell words, fliers can send faxes back to the office.

USAir wouldn't reveal how much the services will cost.

Dan Smith, spokesman for the Airline Passengers Association of North America, which represents 110,000 frequent business travelers, gave Sky Office a mixed review.

"There's a competitive advantage in having these toys, since communication is everything," Mr. Smith said, "but there's still a lot of safety equipment airlines need, and this seems a frivolous way of spending resources."

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