Business Travelers Seek High-Speed Internet Connections

According to a survey to be released today by the Intel Corporation, a third of business travelers polled say that not having easy Internet access when traveling creates business problems, especially in responding to office e-mail messages. Though only 10 percent have actually used Wi-Fi, or wireless services, more than 70 percent say that easy Wi-Fi access on the road would give them a competitive advantage. And 70 percent said they intended to buy Wi-Fi-enabled laptops when they replace their current ones. The survey was conducted at airports among international business travelers. “Road warriors were the first consumers to make cellphones part of their daily business lives more than 20 years ago, and Wi-Fi is following a similar life cycle,” said Sean Maloney, an Intel executive vice president.

Edinburgh is suddenly hot for both business and leisure travel and is attracting new international air service. Continental Airlines said yesterday that it would start daily nonstop flights between Newark and Edinburgh in June, augmenting its daily New York-Glasgow service. Edinburgh International Airport, where a $150 million renovation was recently completed, will attract an estimated 7.3 million passengers this year, compared with 2.3 million in 1993.

Delta Air Lines fell into step with Northwest Airlines in revoking strict “use it or lose it” rules put into effect by the major airlines last year for lower-fare nonrefundable tickets. After relaxing the policies along with other carriers two weeks ago, Delta went a step further. It said that passengers now do not need to cancel originally intended flights before departure to be able to re-book them within a year (while paying the standard change-fee penalties). This followed a move by Northwest essentially to return to pre-2002 policies on nonrefundable tickets.