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?

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