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Gary M
09-20-2005, 09:29 AM
Maybe the cost will keep the nonsense down.


2 European Airlines to Test Cell Phone Use
Sep 20 8:21 AM US/Eastern


By BRADLEY S. KLAPPER
Associated Press Writer


GENEVA


Two European airlines will allow passengers late next year to use their own cell phones on commercial flights within western Europe, a Geneva-based technology firm said Tuesday.

TAP Air Portugal and British carrier bmi both have agreed to introduce OnAir's voice and text service for cell phones in separate three-month trial runs, Chief Executive George Cooper said.

The planes _ which will be the first to allow passengers to make and receive calls with their own cell phones while onboard _ will give OnAir the chance to assess its service ahead of its general release slated for 2007, he said.

"With both airlines, initially there will be a couple of airplanes _ two or three airplanes _ equipped with this system," Cooper told The Associated Press from Germany. "During that three months, we'll all be evaluating how it's going, what the usage is, how we handle the crew issues and so on."

OnAir's system will be used by TAP on its Airbus 321 model and by bmi on its Airbus 320s, both single-aisle planes primarily used for flights within western Europe.

Users of mobile phones and other handheld wireless devices with roaming capability will be able to make and receive calls using a base station within the airplane. They will be allowed to turn their phones on after the plane reaches 10,000 feet, when other electronic devices such as portable music players and laptops are permitted, Cooper said.

"This trial will guide us on usage patterns and some of the social issues in using mobile phones on aircraft," said bmi Chief Executive Nigel Turner. "It will also help us to confirm the business case for rolling the service out across the remainder of the fleet."

Mobile phones are banned on existing aircraft for fear that they might interfere with a plane's navigation system as they attempt to log on to terrestrial networks.

OnAir's mobile communications system is based within the plane, which it says ensures that cell phones and other devices operate at lower transmission power and thus avoid affecting avionics. The company hopes to clear all regulatory hurdles for air traffic within Europe at some point next year.

OnAir _ a joint venture of Airbus and Netherlands-based technology company SITA Information Networking Computing _ is aiming to sell its services to other airlines, which could then use the technology in other plane models.

The technology should "add greatly to the quality of the time that our customers spend flying with us," said TAP Chief Executive Fernando Pinto. "We believe that business passengers flying within Europe will very much welcome this new capability."

Cooper said the surcharge for mobile phone use will be competitive with international roaming rates, at about $2.30-$2.50 per minute. A text message should cost about 50 cents to send or receive.

Airline bmi, a subsidiary of British Midland PLC, flies primarily to destinations in Britain and western Europe and is London Heathrow Airport's second-largest flight operator.

TAP, Portugal's state-owned airline, flies to 43 destinations in 25 countries.

Cooper made the announcement in conjunction with the annual World Airline Entertainment Association Conference, which opened Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

inkkognito
09-20-2005, 10:00 AM
I know this is under consideration in the U.S. too. Anyone want to bet that the number of air rage cases will increase in direct relation to the number of loud, discourteous cell phone users on board?
Barb

CarolMN
09-20-2005, 10:21 AM
If the airlines end up allowing it, I hope they segregate the cell phone people - maybe they could all sit together in the back of the plane, like the smokers used to have to do, LOL!

Best wishes -

safetymom
09-20-2005, 11:19 AM
I hope they figure out a way to handle this. I don't care for all the cell phone talk when it is allowed on the plane, if I had to listen to it my entire flight it wouldn't be nice.

CarolA
09-20-2005, 11:31 AM
I suggest contacting the FAA and complaining. I have and I will have AIR rage if I have to listen to some of these idiots telling the world thier business... NO I don't want to know the details of your personal life or your "self important" business deals!

bavaria
09-20-2005, 11:53 AM
I imagine that it will be like sitting on the bus, surrounded by people on their cel phones saying 'we're going over the bridge now. okay now we're at the light. It's red. We are going past the 7-11 now. Now we going past the mall. okay, the light is red again. We just passed the Starbucks.....' ;)

Oh, I just can't wait.....

And look how some of the DIS very frequent fliers jumped on this, and we all agree.

Phones on airplanes will annoy me as much as people using phones in washroom stalls.....

rgf207
09-20-2005, 03:30 PM
This is all I need now. To be stuck on a plane at 39000 feet with 100 people talking on their cell phones.