Not yet sure if it is a good news or not, but Air France has become the first airline in the world to offer an in-flight mobile phone service on international flights.
One Airbus A318 aircraft operating European routes has been fitted with a mini GSM base station to provides 123 passengers the possibility to :
- Send and receive sms and mms messages
- Send and receive emails via all phones with Internet access
During the second half of the trial, passengers will be able to make and receive phone calls, with the service being regulated to maintain passengers’ comfort and well-being.
If passengers kindly turn off ringing traffic data from/to an aircraft should not be a big deal, if not journeys may become quite annoying with uninterrupted flow of incoming messages ringing alert.
Hard to imagine how will be a long haul flight with full mobile phone services (voice and data) "offered" to passengers.
At the end of the six-month trial, Air France will examine the feedback and comments made by customers to determine whether to launch this service on all its flights.
What is your feeling about the availability of in-flight mobile phone service ?
For the technical part,
Air France uses Mobile OnAir onboard mobile telephony system, certified by EASA (European Aviation Safety Authority) which does not interfere with the radio-navigation instruments on this Airbus A318 and may only be used at cruising altitude once the new illuminated sign “Switch off your phone” is turned off (recycling the "no smoking" sign ?). The system is activated at 3,000 metres (10,000 feet).