Here in the US, most of our airlines are rolling out WiFi Internet access to their entire fleet. For some reason, the European airlines seem more interested in bringing mobile phone access to their planes instead.
There are currently 27 planes out there with GSM mobile phone service, all part of a European Union trial. Last year, the EU granted permission for airlines to install the equipment, after extensive research into the safety of mobile signals in-flight. The service is installed on planes from bmi, TAP and Ryanair.
Personally, I think it is a horrible idea, and one I hope never reaches the US. I’m a huge fan of getting some work done during my flight, but to me that involves getting online, not talking gibberish to my “stock broker” or calling my family members and telling them how awesome the in-flight meal was.
Thankfully, the European airlines have put one very simple measure in place that will probably limit the amount of calls made during the flight – at just under $4 a minute, only the most insane or drunk passengers will spend any length of time on the phone.