Airline with the personal touch

Airline with the personal touch

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Passengers flying with Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong's new Chek Lap Kok Airport may not be in too much of a hurry to board their plane once they see what the airline's high-tech departure lounge has to offer. The major IT element within the lounge is a unique state-of-the-art passenger `infotainment' network that allows passengers to access a multitude of services via custom-built desktop units. The system is based around asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networking technology, which provides a high-speed switching capability for multimedia sources such as video, graphics, text and audio. Passengers access services via a touch screen by swiping their boarding pass through a built-in boarding pass/credit card reader. This immediately personalises the display according to records stored in a customer database, and the passenger is presented with a customised graphical user interface that allows them to navigate through a number of different menu levels with four simple, colour coded `hot' buttons: forward, backward, main menu and restart. At a touch they can find flight information, choose from a large number of TV channels, obtain the latest share price information, view travel facts about their destination, or perhaps listen to a selection of radio channels. Looped video material similar to traditional in-flight entertainment is also provided.

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