This will be welcome news to businesses and people who need to maintain constant contact during a long flight.
Initially the new facility will only be available on flights between London and New York on Virgin Atlantic’s new A330 Airbus planes. Passengers will be able to make calls, send and receive text messages, access email accounts and surf the web through GPRS.
All passengers will be able to access the network, not just those travelling in business class. That said, the costs of using the on board network will proove a turn off, with all calls costing £1 per minute and sending a text message will cost 20p. Virgin have defended the costs by stating that the system was aimed at business travelers who need to make ‘urgent calls’, not for people wanting to use it for every day use.
Taking to the Daily Mail Steve Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: “Many people will have experienced that moment when you’re about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat!”
The mobile network will be made available on Boeing 747 planes once they have undergone a major refurbishment.
Since the announcement there has already been comments from ‘anti noise’ groups. Val Weedon from Noisedirect states that they receive many complaints from people annoyed by phone users on trains and buses: “Noise is noise and the impact is no different in any situation. Noise is a trigger for stress. The heart rate increases and it can cause to all sorts of health problems. There have been lots of studies finding links between noise and stress.”
Even though there is organisations standing against it, this hasn’t stopped mobile phone use on other methods of transport. It seems like the ability to use your mobile device to access a full range of services it the next step for air travel, especially for long haul flights.