Airline booking via the Internet

February 04, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Alaska Airlines has become the first American carrier to offer direct bookings and payments with credit cards on the World Wide Web.

The airline's home page on the Web, part of the Internet, is at http://www.alaska-air.com; it should be accessed with Netscape-compatible software. Selecting the site leads to a screen offering icons for reservations; mileage plan; destination information, with a list of cities that Alaska Airlines flies to or from; and reservations.

Selecting "reservations" brings up a form to be filled out on the screen: departure date, departure time, number of passengers, choice of cabin, return date and time. Separate boxes must be checked for one-way flights or round trips.

A recent test reserving two round-trip coach seats from San Francisco to Anchorage in mid-March took about 2 1/2 minutes, plus the time to fill out a form.

Travelers can also use the site to hold a reservation for 24 hours and complete the sale over the telephone with the airline or through a travel agent. Merchants have been wary about making credit-card sales over the Web because of concerns about unauthorized access to credit-card numbers.

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