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E-mail for all on Virgin Atlantic

The European commercial airline is working with Tenzing Communications to integrate its Internet systems into Virgin Atlantic's in-flight entertainment system.

    Virgin Atlantic Airways is giving all passengers access to e-mail and the Web from the skies.

    The European commercial airline on Monday said it is working with Tenzing Communications to integrate its Internet systems into Virgin Atlantic's in-flight entertainment system so that passengers will be able to send and receive e-mail via their laptop computer or seat-back video screen. Seattle-based Tenzing develops Internet access systems specifically for airlines.

    Some airlines already offer limited Internet access on their planes, primarily to first-class and business-class passengers. Like Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Singapore Airlines have been bolstering their high-tech efforts to extend in-flight Web services to all passengers.

    Last April, Seattle Lab linked arms with aircraft equipment maker Honeywell in a similar pact. The joint project, called Inflightmail, will allow passengers to access their e-mail on airplanes by using their laptops or seat-back consoles to send or receive messages.

    Virgin Atlantic, Britain's second-largest carrier, said it intends to install Tenzing's service on its Boeing and Airbus aircrafts. Virgin Atlantic did not disclose how much it plans to charge passengers for the new in-flight service.

    Virgin Atlantic is a division of the conglomerate that owns the Virgin Megastores, Virgin Cola and Virgin Mobile.