“Can you hear me now? Oh, sorry about all that noise, I’m at 32,000-feet.”
Prepare to have your mid-air nap, reading time, and drink service interrupted by conversations like this, as Virgin Atlantic will soon offer in-air cell phone service on flights from London to New York, and eventually 10 other routes by the end of 2012.
The Telegraph reports Virgin Atlantic will partner with AeroMobile to offer the service, which will allow passengers to take calls, send texts, and gain web access through a low-powered cellular network on Airbus 330 planes.
Fellow airline British Airways does allow passengers to send and receive in-flight texts and access the web on one route between London and New York, but phone calls are not allowed. Neither airline will let you use cell phones during take-off or landing.
As much as this will be highly annoying, we’re already experiencing similar chatter thanks to Wi-Fi calling on planes that offer Internet. Like the equipping of underground subways with cellular networks, soon there will be no crowded place you can go without some kind of cell service.
In the U.S., airline passengers are not allowed to use cell phones on commercial flights. So Virgin Atlantic’s service won’t work within 250 miles of American airspace. That said, the U.S. government has been looking at adjusting these regulations to potentially allow cell phone use on flights in the future.
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