In a society where mobile usage is at an all time high, surely everyone wants to have the option of picking up their phone on-board and making a call – right?! Well, actually no, not quite…
German airline Lufthansa has become the most recent airline to permit its passengers to send texts and roam the net whilst flying sky high, and whilst it hasn’t adopted the idea that those on board can make calls, there are many airlines who have.
However, the idea of being able to make that call whilst being 30, 000 ft in the air, isn’t as popular as it may seem. Firstly, there is the exorbitant network costs, which have encouraged many to wait until they are back on the ground before they start dialling.
Secondly, there is a fear for many passengers, that being stuck next to someone who is ringing their entire phone book would result in a completely ruined journey. Recent research revealed that many people find hearing people talking on the phone on other forms of transport rather painful, let alone on a plane where there is no escape. As a spokesman for Aeromobile suggests; ‘demand for the ‘quiet’ services, such as text messaging and date far outstrips voice calls. In fact data usage has grown ten-fold in the last year.’
This highlights that in order to create an improved passenger experience, it is essential airlines conduct the appropriate research. Any general assumptions would be dangerous in trying to surpass the competitors.
We have gathered a list of ten different airlines who have all dealt with the latest in-flight mobile technology in various ways. What are your thoughts on in-flight mobile use?!
Since September 2013, Aer Lingus has offered in-flight mobile use across its entire long-haul fleet. Whilst it does not allow users to make phone calls, it does allow passengers to text, email and browse the internet.[Picture: John Marotta]
Using the service provider, OnAir, Qatar Airways is able to provide a voice call service, as well as allowing passengers to text and roam the internet using the on-board WiFi.[Picture: Russkie]
If you board Etihad A320 or A330 aircraft than expect to be able to be able to make that all important business call, or even catch up with a friend back home. Etihad also uses OnAir as their service provider. They are also currently working on being able to offer their entire fleet connectivity.[Picture: Olivier Mouhot]
All Nippon Airways
Since the summer of 2013, All Nippon Airways, has made it possible for its passengers to make phone calls, send texts and roam the internet on all international routes.[Picture: Dennis HKG]
This airline have the ability to send people to space, but they only introduced in-flight mobile use in 2011. All flights from London Gatwick and selected flights from Manchester and Heathrow, now allow passengers complete mobile freedom.[Picture: John Marotta]
This was the first airline in the Philippines to launch a service which allowed customers to make phone calls and send texts. OnAir have now installed the technology aboard its Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.[Picture: John Ward]
This airline allows its passengers the ability to make phone calls, send texts, and use WiFi. However, they do make note of the fact that international roaming charges will apply.[Picture: FokkarAMS]
They are the UK’s favourite airline, so how much mobile freedom do they allow? Well, if you are flying on their Club World London City Planes, then you can make voice calls, send texts and use the WiFi.
However, these flights are business-class-only and only operate from London City to JFK meaning BA has yet to offer this feature across its entire fleet. Yet, it’s important we recognise that British Airways was the first company in Europe to offer phone calling as an option.[Picture: Peter Russell]
Hong Kong Airlines
It may only be on their business flights, but Hong Kong Airlines also uses OnAir to give their passengers the option of voice calling, and texting, as well as free WiFi.[Picture: Myfreeco]
Singapore Airlines have introduced the service of being able to text and use WiFi since September 2013, and they are currently installing it on eight B777-300ER (routes from Singapore to London Heathrow and Tokyo).[Picture: Aero Icarus]