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In-Flight Cell Phone Calls a Reality

Air FranceThe death knell has tolled for one of the last lone cell phone-free frontiers on Earth -- or above it, actually. Beginning in July Air France will begin piloting a six month program (pun fully intended) that will allow travelers to send and receive text messages and emails from cellular devices. After three months, though, the true horror begins as passengers will be permitted to talk on their phones. During the trial, questionnaires will be handed out to passengers after each flight to gather feedback.

The service, which is only being tested on Air France's short-haul A318 aircraft, works by having an antenna run the length of the plane. Calls and data transmissions made on board are sent to a satellite, then beamed back down to ground. In-flight calls are expected to cost $2.50, while a price has yet to be announced for emails and text messages.

So what of all that fuss about cell phones and other wireless devices interfering with a plane's navigational systems? In 2004, the FCC and FAA began testing cell phones on planes, but to date has been unable to determine if they pose any danger or not. According to Computer World, the ban is still in place in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, chiefly politics and concerns that in-flight calls could cause technical troubles for cell networks on the ground.



From Silicon.com and Gizmodo

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Tags: airline, airplane, cellphone, travel

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