Earlier this year the FCC decided to keep a rule in place that requires cell phones to be turned off during airline flights. Europe apparently has a more lax set of standards. The European Aviation Safety Agency has approved a system certification for a cell-phone system on board an aircraft. The approval comes following tests carried out on the Airbus, an airline based in Toulouse, France.
The approval will allow airline operation of the OnAir service that will enable passengers to use their BlackBerry-type devices and mobile phones during flights in Europe. They will be able to make and receive calls in addition to being able to send and receive emails and text messages. Apparently, cabin crew will manage the service and have the option of selecting a “voice-off” mode which only allows SMS text messaging and email services.
Initially the service will be available on Airbus’ Single Aisle Family for short-haul flights in Western Europe. While it's a freedom everyone would like, I'd hate to have a long flight filled with people talking on their cell phones. Some rules were made for a reason.