It's been a catch-22 debate for over a decade. If you could use your cell phone in-flight, there's a lot of work, catching-up and planning ahead that can be done before you reach your destination. But not using your cell phone during a flight has given workaholic travelers a nice break from being constantly reachable - any time, anywhere - not to mention the distraction it would cause other flyers. So where's the happy medium?
According to a story in The Independent, Virgin Atlantic recently announced plans to allow in-flight mobile phone calls for passengers traveling between London and New York on the carrier's new A330 Airbus. The cell phone access at 35,000-feet will allow travelers to send and receive text messages, make phone calls and have web access to emails. The catch: it will also prove a great distraction to those guests who were hoping to get some quiet time on the long-haul flight.
The new Virgin Atlantic service will cost travelers approximately $1.50 (GBP 1) a minute for making calls and about 30 cents (20 pence) for sending text messages. The airline will limit the service to 10 people at a time because bandwidth is limited in the air. Additionally, the rule about not being allowed to use your phone during takeoff and landing stays in tact, and cell phones must also be turned off within a 250-mile radius of US airspace because of American laws.
Virgin Atlantic joins Ryanair and Emirates in the growing fleet of aircraft that are adopting new technology which allows travelers to make mobile phone calls on board.
London's The Independent reports that cell phones will eventually be permitted on Virgin's fleet of Boeing 747s and the airline predicts that 20 aircraft will be able to accommodate cell phone calls by the end of the year.
Readers: Voice your opinions! Are mobile phones in-flight a good idea, or an annoying distraction?
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