Phoning home from 35,000 feet
Virgin Atlantic is to become the first British airline to provide passengers with a service to make and receive phone calls in flight.
This technology will soon be available in all cabins on Virgin’s new A330 aircraft which currently fly from London to New York. It will also on the B747 aircraft, which are currently undergoing a £50m refurbishment.
As well as making and receiving calls, passengers will also be able to send and receive in-flight text messages and emails, and get web access via GPRS.
However the new system will have fixed boundaries: it cannot be used during take-off or landing, and American law means it has to be turned off around 250 miles from US airspace. By the end of 2012, nearly 20 aircraft will provide the service.
The airline claims it is responding to demand from its customers. “We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wish list.” explained Greg Dawson, director of corporate communications.
“Many people will have experienced that moment when you’re about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat!”
He also pointed out: “It’s quite fun to call home and say “Guess where I am” – not many people will think you’re travelling at 35,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean.”
[Image: from Virgin Atlantic Facebook page]