Virgin Atlantic has just announced that it will be providing in-flight cellular service to customer before the end of the year, the Telegraph reported. The new service will allow passengers on Virgin’s new Airbus A330 aircraft flying from London to New York, and on nine other routes soon after, to place calls, send SMSs and browse the web from their smartphones.
The cellular connectivity will be provided by firm AeroMobile and passengers will pay fees roughly equivalent to normal roaming charges.
According to the Telegraph “British Airways already offers passengers in-flight texts and web access on a single route between London City Airport and New York but it does not permit in-flight mobile phone calls.”
“Neither Virgin nor BA’s service is permitted during take-off or landing, and American laws mean that it has to be turned off 250 miles from US airspace.”
While there is only limited bandwidth, making only several simultaneous calls possible and limiting web surfing to only the simplest sites, the service is slated to improve over time, AeroMobile announced.
Nine other foreign carriers already offer AeroMobile, including Qantas, Emirates and Lufthansa.
While US customers currently enjoy wi-fi on their flights, they are unable to make phone calls from their cell phones while in the air.
Let’s hope the FAA relents in their opposition to cellphones and this tech comes to the US sooner rather than later.
Hell, in the US you can be detained for placing a VoIP call over wi-fi on a plane!