In-Flight Calling Is A Go – In France

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.

1 reply on “In-Flight Calling Is A Go – In France”

But this is the way the world at 36,000 feet is going so better get used to it! We are damned lucky to have got away with silent flights for this long!!!

Planes are becoming more and more like 2nd class train carriages – for those of you reading in the rest of Europe I mean 2nd class on UK trains, not your luxurious 300 kph superslick 5 star deluxe trains. Flying these days, unless you take out a 2nd mortgage to be allowed to sit on the captains lap, entails skanky smelly toilets, seats too small for even one bum cheek and food that tastes like it was put together in the aforementioned toilets and then inserted into a special shelf next to the engines to give it that “just microwaved” taste.

And then we come on to luggage allowance. I have flown a lot this year and so I’ve spotted your little tricks Mr Aeroplane Industry for slowly reducing luggage down to zero. I can honestly see the day in just a year or so where every passenger will be asked to stand on a set of scales at checkin. Anybody heavier than Victoria Beckham will pay a supplement per extra KG. And as for luggage allowance, it will be whatever you can fit into one of those cheap toilet bags that Boots the Chemist are selling off at half price today as a last minute Xmas gift for Dad. Suitcases!!?? forget it! The hold of a plane will be turned over to freight – allowing airlines to get involved in the more lucrative business of transporting yet more tat from one country (usually China) to another.

So come on, you pay £9.99 on a super saver week return to fly to Majorca on a bright orange biscuit tin, and really expect to be allowed to enjoy some peace and quite for 3 hours!!!??? No sorry, flying is not an excuse to get away from the buzz of mobile phones and loud pointless chatter so get used to it. Please re-adjust to the thought of listening to chavs telling their mum how they are “IN THE AIR. YES. OVER THE SEA. NO THE SEA. SEA. YES THAT’S RIGHT. OOH THE PLANE JUST BUMPED THEN, ARE YOU STILL THERE? I CAN HEAR YOU. CAN YOU HEAR ME? YES THAT’S BETTER…”.

And while you are re-adjusting your seats and putting your trays back up, please take a moment to look at the billboard adverts posted along the walls of the plane and on top of the wings. And we would like to draw your attention to the McDonalds’ food menu. Burgers and fries from the trolley will be server shortly, please ensure you have the right change to purchase your meal. For those with a sensitive smell our trolley management operatives will shortly pass through the carriage handing out nose clips.

Of course we could all boycot this and refuse to use mobiles on planes during the trials so that they decide it’s a waste of time!! But no, I can guarantee that within 12 months of it launching across multiple airlines that 90% of us will wonder how on earth we ever managed to get business done and our social life organised without those extra few hours of flight to annoy the hell out of our fellow human beings.

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