Air New Zealand deploys text and data in air — but not voice!

Right then I’m looking forward to making use of the new Air New Zealand mobile facilities to be launched toward the end of the year as the Straits Times reports:

AIR New Zealand is planning to let some passengers send text messages and emails mid-flight by the end of the year but fellow travellers need not worry – phone calls will not be allowed.

New Zealand’s national carrier said it expects to let people send and receive text messages and emails on their iPhones, Blackberries and GSM mobiles on its new 777-300 aircrafts by November.

The new service will also enable customers to use their Netbooks or laptops in conjunction with their mobile broadband connection to access the Internet. The airline said the new mobile text and data service is being introduced after feedback from passengers who want to stay connected on long-haul flights but it is subject to regulatory approval.

I think banning voice is the way ahead — and it’s critical to ensure that people swap their handsets to silent mode as well. The last thing you want is a 10-hour flight to LAX with ‘bing bing’ BlackBerry Messenger alerts every 5 minutes.

I often fly Air New Zealand from LAX to LHR. Although it’s a little bit inconvenient doing the hop from San Francisco to LAX, I’ve always found the Air New Zealand service phenomenal and reasonable in terms of cost. I’m looking forward to being able to do email and make the odd online query as necessary during my flights. I wonder what it’ll cost?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

2 replies on “Air New Zealand deploys text and data in air — but not voice!”

Banning voice but allowing text and data is the way all airlines should go. Kudos to Air New Zealand for figuring out that if you really want to upset your passengers, let some yak away for 10 hours upsetting everyone around them. I can't imagine a worse environment to be stuck in than on a plane for 10 hours with everyone loudly talking on their cells!

Amazing. Air New Zealand can sort out a decent deal overseas at 30,000 feet, yet NZ's two incumbent mobile Telco's, with twice the spectrum of the UK and 1/15th the customers, charge for mobile data like it's 1999. Literally.

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