CHAMPAGNE toasts at 35,000 feet with Olivia de Havilland, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. or one of France's most famous chefs.
* Inflight video games that are as conveniently located as the flop-down meal tray in front of you.
* On-board telephones so you can make those urgent phone calls to the home office from somewhere high above the Great Plains.
These are among the latest amusements that the airlines either have added or are about to add to their in-flight entertainments, which up to now have consisted mostly of movies, music and magazines. The airlines seem determined that no passenger is going to get bored for want of something to do.
Some passengers are quite content to read a book, nap or get a little paperwork done. But many have come to expect some form of entertainment to help pass the time, especially on long transcontinental or overseas routes. Members of one group, the fearful flyers, grasp at any distraction to keep their minds off the flight.
The airlines say the innovations have been designed, as a spokesman for Eastern Airlines puts it, "to enhance the overall entertainment experience." But they also acknowledge they are trying to get a jump on each other in a competitive market by offering attractions to lure ticket buyers.
Here's a sampling of what some of the airlines have in store:
* Glamor is what Pan Am is featuring at its champagne and wine-tasting parties on selected long-distance routes. They were introduced in November to enliven midweek flights from Europe and Asia--first-class only. A celebrity, who gets free transportation in exchange, uncorks a sampling of bottles, and the passengers gather for a sip and a chat.
Sometimes it's a Hollywood or Broadway star like de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Jean Marsh, Irene Worth or Liv Ullmann. Or it could be a major French or California winemaker talking about his product or a wine critic offering advice.
Paul Bocuse, the famed chef, is a frequent host when he flies from his home in France to his restaurant at Epcot in Disney World.
* Very shortly, passengers in coach and first class may have the opportunity to play at one- and two-person video games. For the past two months, Canadian Pacific has been testing a dinner-tray model on its flights from Vancouver to Australia and Vancouver to Toronto. (The surface of the game board is protected by a Latex-type covering since it doubles as the meal tray.) So far, says spokesman Don Buchanan, "the response has been very good."
With this model, players pay the attendant a fee of, say, $3.50, and are given a disposable key to activate a selection of games designed both for youngsters and adults. On some of the test flights, every one of the passengers opted to play.
Other airlines, including TWA, United and Eastern, are considering installing video games. The version that interests Eastern is something like a vending machine in which passengers insert a credit card, remove a game device and return to their seats to play it. "We'll make a decision before the end of the year," says an Eastern spokesman.
* United Airlines is one of several carriers seriously looking at air-to-ground telephones, once the transmission system has been perfected. Spokesman Chuck Novak sees them as a possibility on United's widebody planes sometime in the first three months of next year. While this is viewed more as a business aid than an entertainment, there's no doubt, says Novak, folks will be phoning home to ask: "Guess where I am? Thirty-five thousand feet over Cleveland."
In the system United has studied, phone boxes are hung from the cabin walls. To make a call, a passenger inserts a credit card and removes the phone, a cordless model that can be carried back to the seat. When the phone is returned, the passenger retrieves the credit card.
* As soon as the seat belts sign goes off, the crowd is "standing room only" at Continental Airlines' "Pub" in the air, says spokeswoman Jan Steinberg. "It gives passengers a chance to get up and stretch their legs. It's a meeting place, something to do. They love it."
Once featured on various airlines, the pub was reintroduced in January on Continental's DC-10 routes. Located between coach and first-class sections, the pub seats two at the bar and eight in leather lounge chairs. As for standing room, "the more the merrier," says Continental.
In July, American Airlines inaugurated taped rebroadcasts of the "CBS Morning News" on many of its widebodied flights in the United States. PSA, a West Coast airline, has tested a taped in-seat exercise regimen. On many flights, United is presenting "United Report," a 20-minute package of previously broadcast TV news features.
If all of this sounds frivolous, TWA has the antidote. On its homeward-bound flights from Europe, it is providing first-class passengers with a "business kit." There's enough in it--stapler, notebook, calculator, ruler, pencil and pen--to keep any workaholic delightedly distracted.
CYCLING BY THE BAY: Up in Vermont, guided bicycling tours from country inns have been popular for several years. Now Washington lawyer Doug Farnsworth, with advice from the Vermont people, has put together a similar package of two- and three-day weekend excursions through Maryland's Eastern Shore and the historic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It may sound strenuous, but these are tours for softies, too. He has eliminated almost all of the hard work--except for pushing the pedals.
Among the comforts: Two or three nights in a country inn, so you don't have to set up a tent. Meals at the inn, so you don't have to tote your own food. And if you are worried about flat tires or a mechanical breakdown, he's got the answer to that, too. He (or an associate) follows behind to make any repairs.
For each outing, Farnsworth, 38, has even arranged a choice of loop routes from the inn. The strong-limbed can cover up to 75 miles a day, if they wish. But if you are more relaxed about your exercise, he will send you on an easy-paced 20- to 30-mile trail.
Farnsworth, who founded Chesapeake and Shenandoah Bicycle Touring in April after a decade of cycling the Washington region's back roads, has five basic tours that he will alternate weekly into November. Depending on the destination, he can take from 17 to 28 cyclists .
On the two-day Eastern Shore package, the group meets Friday night for dinner at the Pasadena Inn in the bayside village of Royal Oak in Talbot County. The inn is a 220-year-old plantation house set on 115 acres on a Chesapeake inlet. After Saturday's breakfast, cyclists can set out at their own pace to visit the charming towns of Oxford, Easton and St. Michael's.
Lunch is along the way. On one recent tour, the group gathered for beer and crabs on the St. Michael's dock. Back at the inn, boats and canoe's are available, and there's a pool for swimming before dinner. Sunday's after-breakfast ride is shorter, passing through forested flatlands to the village of Tunis Mills.
Other tours originate from Berkeley Springs, W. Va., Charlottesville, Va.; Thurmont, Md. (Frederick County) and Princess Anne, another Eastern Shore town in Maryland's Somerset County. The price for a two-day outing is $135 per person and $190 for three-day weekends (Labor Day and Columbus Day). Bicycles and helmets can be rented.
Softies would be wise to pick an Eastern Shore trip. There aren't any long hills to climb.
For information: Chesapeake and Shenandoah Bicycle Touring, P.O. Box 21002, Washington, D.C. 20009 or 332-7166.