In-flight Internet problems foreseen

Feb. 7, 2009 at 1:04 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. airline executives say they're aware new in-flight wireless Internet service has the potential to be profitable but problematic.

Even though wireless broadband Internet connectivity for passengers is a much-needed new revenue source for financially strapped airlines, it also may be a new source of tension between passengers on packed planes and with flight attendants, whose union says terrorists could use it to plot attacks, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"We want to be respectful of the fact that an airplane is a public place," Ranjan Goswami, director of product development at Delta Airlines, told the newspaper. "You're in close intimacy with other passengers and the cabin crew. It's just like alcohol. The flight attendants understand how to interact with that."

But Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, views in-flight "WiFi" as a potential threat to attendants' ability to keep order in the cabin, saying, "It just adds another layer of duties inside the cabin, which take away from the main requirement that flight attendants are on board for."

Delta and American Airlines are rolling out the service, the Times said.

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