Customers of the cellular operators T-Mobile in the U.S. and either Vodafone or O2 in Europe can now use their own mobile phones and cellular connections to make cellphone calls while on some flights of Virgin Atlantic’s London-New York A330 service. That’s thanks to a link-up with Panasonic-owned AeroMobile. Phones will still have to be switched off for take-offs and landings, and only a handful of people will be able to make calls at any one time. Passengers will be charged whatever they would normally pay in terms of international roaming calls. The service started last week. By year’s end as many as 20 Virgin Atlantic planes will be fitted with the technology.
Emirates became the first carrier to allow passengers to use personal cellphones in 2008. Some other airlines in the Middle East, including Oman Air and Royal Jordanian, offer similar services. Other airlines are planning such a service. Thai Airways for instance plans to offer cellphone usage on some of its A380 flights.
There is heated debate as to whether in-flight cellphone connectivity is a useful service or a menace to passengers who want a quiet plane ride. Let us know your own thoughts in the comments below, or tells on Facebook or Twitter.