Air France announced today that they have equipped an Airbus A318 with an inflight calling system. The network will start up with a 6-month trial. The first three months, service will be limited to SMS and Email, but is expected to be opened up to full voice by the end of the trial. The system is setup with OnAir, which is negotiating deals with Orange, Bouyges Telecom, and SFR, with prices looking to be $2.50/minute.
Personally, the last thing I want on an airplace is cheaper voice calls. I mean, you can already make telephone calls on most flights, it’s just disgustingly expensive. When I flew home from Amsterdam on American, it was $5 just to connect, and $10/minute. I personally enjoy the quiet time on a flight to get things done offline, sleep, and that sort of thing.
The last thing I want on a cross-Atlantic flight is a screaming baby and the guy next to me calling home to tell his girlfriend about it. I don’t mind the data part of it on the plane, though. Not like most laptops will last all that long, but still.