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European Airlines Gets Approval For In Flight Calls

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.


Join The Conversation
bugness bugness 10 years
I don't understand how they're getting reception on these flights. I've forgotten to turn my phone off a few times, and I never have any service after takeoff. Actually, the rule was originally in place because the phones interfered with airplane equipment, BUT, the FCC recently announced that while that's no longer the issue, they don't intend on changing the rule anytime soon. The reason? Imagine a whole plane of people talking. I believe that would be the case, because walking through the airport twice a month this past year, EVERYONE is on their cell phones. Just imagine what they'd be doing on the plane if allowed.
ladygrace ladygrace 10 years
I'm for the e-mail and internet/text service, and VERY Anti the actual talking on the phone. I would not want to get stuck to the loud idiot who can't shut up for a long flight. I'd probably get in trouble with the TSA because I'd cause an argument with that person.
woodycakes woodycakes 10 years
email! internet!!!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
Forget talking - I'm all about the email and internet access!!! Hello, that would mean wayyy less boredom and anxiety if you could chat to your friends the whole time you're on a flight - especially if it's transatlantic like the stupid ones I have to get on all the time. :(
Princess-Rebecca Princess-Rebecca 10 years
I'm so happy I live in Europe!
poetess poetess 10 years
I know that I would be super loud. My ears get plugged up and I can't imagine trying to talk to someone like that.
macgirl macgirl 10 years
I *think* what happens with people on cell phones is they often talk much louder. If you're talking to someone in person your voice level is often in line with the counter talker. So if you were both loud talkers it would be the same problem ;-) Generally when people talk about really personal stuff in person they often get quiet and talk softer, but on a phone call it is broadcasted to many. Cell phones tend to just put people in their own little world. I for one will try to avoid any airline that allows voice-on service.
lostbronte lostbronte 10 years
I will never understand why people have a problem with cell phone conversations. How is it any more annoying than listening to a regular, real-life conversation? People who ignore cashiers and such while talking on the phone are stupid, but otherwise, grow up, people! And geeksugar, the rule was put in place because of potential interference with airplane equipment, not because cell phones are "annoying."
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
the texting would be fine but i don't want to be bothered hearing peoples conversations when i'm trying to sleep.
1stharbinger 1stharbinger 10 years
I thought it was a terrible idea at first, but if there is a voice off mode and the flight attendants weren't afraid to use it, it would actually be cool. My preference would be a permanent voice off. If you were going to be late or something you could text someone who was picking you up.
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