Have you ever set off on a 10-hour flight, settled down without the distraction of your mobile phone or computer, but then realised that you really need to get in touch with someone? It’s frustrating when that happens because of course you can’t use those devices, until now. Virgin Atlantic claims it will become the first British airline to provide passengers with a service to make and receive phone calls in flight.
The airline said that the service is in response to the demand from customers, who will now be able to send and recieve texts and access the internet via GPRS. Initially it will only be available to O2 or Vodafone networks, and will be billed international roaming charges.
Director of corporate communications Greg Dawson said: “We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wish list. Many people will have experienced that moment when you”re about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat!”
It will be available in all cabins on Virgin’s new A330 aircraft on flights from London to New York, but the service is primarily aimed at business travellers. By the end of 2012, nearly 20 aircraft will provide the service, including the airline’s B747 aircraft, which are currently going through a £50m refurbishment.
There are some restrictions however, only basic web access is possible through the GPRS service, and it cannot be used during take-off or landing, or within 250 miles from US airspace to adhere to American laws.