Airfone, GTE Corp.'s airborne phone system, has helped executives keep in touch even when they're miles above ground. Two years ago, Phoenix-based SkyMall Inc. had another idea: Let busy travelers use the phones for shopping, too. Unfortunately, its first deal was with Eastern Air Lines Inc., which has been liquidated.
But SkyMall isn't giving up. Its service is now available on Trans World Airlines Inc. flights. And by 1993, the company says, it will be able to deliver merchandise to passengers arriving at any major U. S. airport. SkyMall is also negotiating with other airborne phone companies. In-Flight Phone Corp. in Oak Brook, Ill., says that its new digital phones will be able to handle more information, making it possible for shoppers to place orders directly with SkyMall's computer.