RSS

The Bulletin

Flying Emirates? In-flight call? No problem

Posting in Technology

Emirates says that passengers will be allowed to use their mobile phones on A380 aircraft.

The Dubai-based airline announced Monday that passengers onboard an A380 have leave to talk away on their phone -- either to the delight of business travelers, or perhaps the chagrin of others who are catching a night flight.

The service will work on standard phones through a partnership wit OnAir, the company that supplies Wi-Fi capabilities to the airline's craft. Passengers will be able to make or receive calls using EDGE or GPRS connections as normal through their service provider.

However, in adherence to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), phones cannot be used when passing over United States soil -- so the service is shut down when an aircraft is within 250 miles of the country, according to AllThingsD.

"Beginning in 1993 with first passenger satellite phone service to last year with our A380 Wi-Fi system, Emirates has always taken the approach that providing the latest in inflight service and connectivity is a key part of our passengers' journey," Patrick Brannelly, Emirates vice president of corporate communications product, publishing, digital and events said in a statement.

"Emirates continues to invest in the most innovative technology possible and promises to keep pushing the boundaries of the in-flight innovation for the benefit of our passengers."

The first recorded in-flight call  was made to China when an Emirates aicraft was cruising 11,500 meters over the Gulf, according to the firm. Naturally, Emirates believes this next step to be a boost for in-flight connectivity and passenger comfort, but if you're stuck in economy next to someone shouting into their cell for an hour, I'm not so sure.

— By on October 8, 2012, 8:37 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure