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Quick Hits: In-Flight Meals, Now With In-Flight Porn


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Bless the cash-strapped airlines, who may soon allow your seatmate to enjoy Internet pornography in-flight.

Blame it on fuel costs.

American Airlines (AMR) has expanded the availability of Internet access on non-stop flights connecting New York with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

For $12.95, American Airlines customers can browse the Internet and check e-mail from their seats.

In-flight Web surfing is part of the airline industry's ongoing effort to develop new sources of revenue in response to rising fuel costs. So far, efforts to boost revenue have included new fees for extra bags checked and charges for in-flight snacks.

If American's expanded Internet service is a money-maker, you can bet competitors will soon copy it. Who knows, maybe United Airlines (UAUA), Delta (DAL) and JetBlue (JBLU) will offer a similar service in the future. American tested in-flight Internet access on 2 flights in June.

In-flight Web surfing is a good idea - until the pervert in the aisle seat clicks to a porno site and kids nearby ask their parents what's going on. American Airlines won't filter the Internet, and says current policies governing unruly passengers will be applied to bozos sniffing around naughty Web sites.

Good luck with that.

You can bet that someone will complain about just about everything available on the Internet. Sports Illustrated and the bikini babes? Shocking! Hot cars? Evil carbon footprint! Cats? Just the thought of felines is bound to trigger an allergic reaction in someone. A religious Web site? Hah - the mug in seat 15A is almost certain to argue that there's a Constitutional separation between church and airline, or ought to be.

There's also the problem of confidential e-mail, both personal and corporate. After you read an intimate note over Kansas, a bumptious seatmate is bound to say, "Hey buddy, I can help."

All this may turn flight attendants into kindergarten teachers, soothing and cajoling passengers - or telling those in a snit to put a sock in it.

This is guaranteed to beat the crummy in-flight movie for entertainment value - at least for the first thousand miles.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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