TOUCH-TONE TRAVELING

Attention Dallas business travelers: If you’ve repeatedly arrived at arctic destinations wearing summer togs, your troubles are over. Airdata Inc., a computerized telephone weather service, has arrived. The system provides travelers in the Dallas area with toll-free access to the nation’s current weather report from any touch-tone phone.

Just dial the local number (350-5050), then wait for the computerized signal and punch in the area code of any U.S. city for an up-to-the-minute local report.

A voice synthesis computer converts data from the National Weather Service and other sources into speech, giving current temperatures, wind-chill factors, forecasts and the time for 110 cities in the United States and Puerto Rico. Airdata operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Available only from Dallas telephone extensions, the service is the first of its kind in the nation, says president Blake Barker. The U.S. Bureau of Standards Time (to the nearest second) gives the precise time for digital-watch wearers. In the near future, an Airdata caller will be able to arrange car rental or reservations for hotels, restaurants and airlines. Barker is counting on the subscriptions of such travel-related businesses to make the toll-free service profitable.

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