Following in the footsteps of retailers, car makers and even a newswire service, Brazilian carrier TAM is to enter the virtual world of Second Life.

The first airline to sign up in the cyberworld, TAM says it will soon start offering virtual flights between several of the online world’s island. England, Milan, New York and Paris are the first destinations named by TAM.

The flights will be free because the characters in Second Life - known as avatars - can already fly. However those who chose TAM can earn frequent flyer points and virtual gifts.

TAM A330-200

A TAM lounge will be set up on Second Life’s Berrini Island, where avatars will be greeted by a virtual pilot and a flight attendant.

“It’s more of an institutional marketing tool, for people to learn about the airline’s destinations, and for us to be present in this new online fever,” says TAM, noting that 200,000 Brazilians use Second Life making them the fourth largest nationality in the cyberworld.

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