With most business travelers dependent on computers, E-mail, and Internet access, the travel industry is coming out with new technologies to make trips a little easier

Three major airlines are installing power ports in their planes so laptop users can plug in and work without relying on short-lived battery power. Delta and United are putting the outlets in first-and business-class cabins of international and long-haul planes; American expects to have them in all three cabins of most of its fleet by 1998, although the economy section won't have them in every row. "About fifty to fifty-five percent of coach passengers will have some access to power," a company official said. "We'll identify those locations on seat maps." Users will need an adapter cable to plug in. (Xtend Micro Products makes the cables for hundreds of laptop models, available at computer stores for about $99; 800/232-9836.)

Several vendors are setting up Internet-access kiosks at major U.S. airports. To use one of these computer stations, you simply swipe a credit card through a reader and follow on-screen instructions. Ten minutes will cost about $2.50 to $3.30. Travelers can use airport downtime to read and send E-mail, surf the Web, and, in some cases, send faxes or use other business software.

The companies that provide hotels with in-room movies-on-demand and other communications and video services are rolling out systems that will let guests access the Internet from their rooms. In some cases, this may involve installing PC's in rooms; in others, the TV will serve as the computer screen.

At this rate, it won't be long before we're all able to work all the time, anywhere. Great!

—Jim Glab