Letting people use their cell phones on aircraft would be a mixed blessing. I like the fact that this system allows the flight crew to restrict activity to texting (or shut it off completely) so that a crowded aircraft doesn’t descend into chaos.

Approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency means that, from September, passengers aboard Airbus aircraft outfitted with the OnAir system will be able to send and receive phone calls, SMS messages and e-mail messages while flying at altitudes above 3,000 meters, or 9,840 feet.

Cabin staff members will be able to turn off the system or restrict usage to text services like SMS, as they see fit.

While OnAir does not set the fees, Lake said the expected cost would be around $2.50 per minute for calls and 50 cents per SMS message. “Instead of roaming in a country, you are effectively roaming in the sky,” Lake said. “We send your call via satellite down to the GSM network.”

Call charges will appear on customer phone bills in an identical way to international roaming, with revenue shared between the airlines, OnAir and the customer’s own phone company.

Well, the expense should keep some of the more frivolous use down, but then again some people will call at first just because they can.

  1. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    Stephen King has jumped the shark!

    Although, Campbell Scott has a great voice.

  2. Mister Mustard says:

    Internet, yes. Texting, OK. Yammering on a fucking cell phone, nfw. That’s just wrong. Jeez, they might as well let people start smoking again, too. How much worse could it be?

  3. James Hill says:

    FYI… The only reason cell phones are currently banned is because it’s near-impossible to track billing information at 400+ MPH. Sounds like someone figured out a solution.

  4. doug says:

    I am OK with cell phone use on airplanes so long as the people pulling in th $2.50/minute/user give me about $350 to buy a nice pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones.

    and what are the odds of that?

  5. Rob says:

    “For SURE, oh my GAWAD, did you SEE what that bitch Shannon wrote on Myspace, oh but her new boyfriend Chuck is such a DOLL…”

    Lather rinse repeat x at least 100 passengers surrounding you for 5 hours…

    Kill me NOW

  6. John Paradox says:

    Cabin staff members will be able to turn off the system or restrict usage to text services like SMS, as they see fit.

    Transcript: Hey, honey, guess what? I’m using my cell phone on the plane. Yeah, I know I just saw you right before I boarded but…
    hello? hello?


  7. BubbaRay says:

    Pilot to flight engineer….
    Pilot to flight engineer….
    Hey, get off that darned cell phone. She’s sending you pictures of her what?? Hey, give me that phone. HWOOOAAH!! What a
    (Whoop, whoop, whoop, pull up, pull up, pull up….)
    pair of

  8. pjakobs says:

    modern day slavery has just reached new levels!

    get off the leash!


  9. andrew says:

    Skytrax the airline passenger satisfaction website ran a 2 day survey of visitors, of 5200 individual responses 84% said no cellphones.

    of 49,000 respondents 93% considered it an invasion of privacy.

    Kind of makes me wonder when companies are going to start listening to their customers.

  10. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #3 and #6 – I sympathize with why you don’t want people talking on the cell phone in flight, but isn’t it ironic that of all the things you can do with a cell phone, it seems like TALKING ON THE PHONE is the least popular?

    I only have a cell… No land line.

    Never text. Never use the Internet. Never use the camera. Never use any of the 649 features, other than voice, and then I average about 10 to 20 minutes a day.

    So why a cell phone? 1) I hate the traditional phone companies only slightly more than cell phone companies, and 2) because I like the notion that if I need to, I can use my phone when I’m not at home, which is almost every waking hour.

  11. eplasm says:

    Greetings. My personal opinion is it is hard enough to listen to your co-seat member snoring on a 18-hour overseas flight … the thought that they can text (without turning off the keypad beeps) tells me that this will become a major annoyance for me — like I can move to another seat? … and for me whilst I try to sleep to prepare to land in a different time zone the bugger next to me want to send “I love you, I will be there soon, so what are you doing?” and then the reciever reply “how is your flight so far?” … “so nice to talk to you when you so far away and up in the air, wow this is fun! … how is the food on that airline?” While I just want to sleep .. I propose ethics when using any cellphone, blackberry, blueberry, or Laptop on Public Ttansportation and Economy Class is like riding the bus, you know?.. No Music Allowed … no beeps or ringtones and if you think you have the right to take calls mid-flight and fight with the caller about personal issues you are wrong …. better you put it on the phone speaker so we can hear both sides of the conversation! I vote no on allowing cell calls on plane flights — short, mid or international … god help me if I get stuck by seat selection to some person that is text-message addict but not know how to go silent ….. nuff said


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