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E-mail kiosks at airports

Business travelers will soon be able to send and receive e-mail, without plugging in a laptop, at Internet kiosks in most U.S. airport terminals.

By mid-1998, the three metropolitan New York airports - La Guardia, Kennedy International and Newark International - expect to have about 100 Internet-access kiosks in place, according to Carl Selinger, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's manager of business aviation development. The charge is likely to be around $2.50 for a 10-minute connection.Getting airport information from the Port Authority's own World Wide Web site (http://www.panynj.gov) will be free. Charges will begin when travelers make hotel and airline reservations, book sports events and concerts or check stock prices.

At least a dozen other airports, including those serving Dallas and San Francisco, are already testing Internet kiosks, located in the same heavily trafficked areas where phone booths and bank automated teller machines are vying for space.

"Passengers like them," said Lisbet Engberg, a spokesperson for San Francisco International Airport. "They don't spend more than three to five minutes at ours. It's like a phone call. They use it for a reason."