Saturday, December 23, 2006
Cell phones on planes
According to CNN....In January, Emirates airline plans to launch mobile phone usage in its planes, making it the first airline to allow passengers to make cell phone calls on its flights.
It is one thing that is rather peaceful about flying on a plane, not having people text and yap on the phone in close proximity. Currently they have to spend a pretty penny to used the telephones provided. I am not looking forward to cell phone usage on planes.
Qantas plans to start evaluating technology that lets fliers use their cell phones and PDAs during flight early next year. Looks like the Kiwi traveler may well get this service before propel in the USA.
Fliers have long been able to keep in touch with those on the ground by using phones built into the backs of airplane seats. But the costs of those seatback phones can be upwards of $10 a minute, plus a connection fee.
In contrast, the cost of calls made in-flight on Emirates will be in line with international roaming rates, the airline said. Those rates vary by mobile carrier and by location but can be as low as $1 to $2 a minute.
But while some upscale, long-haul airlines are installing equipment onboard that will allow for cell phone use, it may be a while before the service makes its way to the U.S. Thank goodness for that.
U.S. carriers don't allow in-flight cell phone calls, although the FAA is reviewing the safety concerns associated with mobile calls made in the air.
A majority of business travelers (61 percent) oppose the idea of being able to use their phones in the sky, according to a global survey conducted by travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel early this year.
But if the technology is there, the service will eventually make its way to the skies, said Chris McGinnis, editor of Expedia Travel Trendwatch.
"Whether people like it or not, in-flight cell phone use is going to become a reality," he said.
Airlines are also exploring less intrusive ways to keep in-step with the increasingly connected lifestyle of their passengers.
According to the annual Airline IT Trends Survey conducted by industry group SITA and Airline Business magazine, 59 percent of airlines plan to offer in-flight Internet access by the end of 2008. Internet access would be acceptable as you could get some work done on a flight, but cell phones could be agitating on a long haul flight. What do you think about that?
Posted by Rob Good at 12:41 PM