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In-flight mobile calls take off with Emirates

The world has finally got its first commercial in-flight mobile service, thanks to Emirates and supplier AeroMobile. Emirates saw its first call on flight EK751, on a plane travelling between Dubai and Casablanca yesterday.

According to AeroMobile, it’s the first time that voice calls have been allowed on commercial airline flights, after the European Aviation Safety Agency and the United Arab Emirates-based General Civil Aviation Authority gave the system the thumbs-up.

It looks like AeroMobile and Emirates have really done their research here. There’s a second aircraft coming online soon, so the service isn’t just a one-off, BlackBerry email and other GPRS data applications will be available later on this year and there’s even a politeness policy enforced making sure that passengers keep their mobiles on silent. If Emirates get the pricing right, it could be the testbed that proves demand for in-flight mobility.

2 replies on “In-flight mobile calls take off with Emirates”

“there’s even a politeness policy enforced making sure that passengers keep their mobiles on silent. ”

Strike Emirates from my list of preferred airlines.

The airlines cannot ‘enforce’ a blanket ‘no mobiles’ rule now, so how are they going to enforce a ‘silent’ rule? Everyone will forget, then smile weakly when their crap ringtone blasts out 2 hours into sleep time, probably waking the bawling baby that just got settled.

And even if the call rings silent, the level of ambient noise in an aircraft cabin will mean anyone wanting to be heard will have to yell. Literally. Many will realise just how crap the experience of trying to conduct a call inside a tumble dryer is not optimal – especially at the likely prices. Unfortunately, those who will ignore the noise and their fellow passenger’s right to peace & quiet will likely be price-insensitive businessmen who bawl into mobiles on trains.

This is just appalling. Unless they are going to section off an area just for mobile usage, this will encourage air rage of the like you’ve never seen.

Or maybe I’m reading too much doom & gloom into this. A few ‘accidentally’ well-spilt cups of nice sticky juice should sort any aero-mobilists.

I’ve said it before: just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

/m

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