Aviation: Coffee, Tea or Doris Day

When it comes to fares and equipment, major U.S. airlines are so much alike that they must constantly maneuver for competitive advantage by offering some extra touch. They have tried champagne, caviar and credit, but the latest dogfight in the skies is over a rapidly spreading innovation that promises to change the whole character of flights: movies and TV shows in the air. In-flight entertainment, which was used by only two airlines only a few months ago, is causing more excitement in the industry than anything since the jet.

Last week Trans World Airlines, the first to introduce movies to...

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