In-Flight Cellphone Calls To Be Allowed On Virgin Atlantic Flights

Passengers on Virgin Atlantic will soon be able to make in-flight cellphone calls, send texts and browse the web on their way home from Europe, it was just announced. The new service is part of the airline’s upgrade to the Airbus A330, which will also provide expanded in-flight entertainment, USB ports and a very spiffy upper class. Cellphone service will initially be available only on London to New York flights, but will be expanded to more cities by the year’s end. There are a lot of caveats, however: you’ll need to be on a Vodafone or O2 network, only 10 calls will be allowed at one time and service won’t be cheap. Calls will cost 1 GBP per minute and texts 20p each. You’ll also still need to turn off your devices for takeoff and landing, and turn them off within 250 miles of US airspace, so no flight-long games of Words With Friends.

Gadling readers: would you use this service? Do you think it’s any improvement over the old-school in-flight phones? Or will it just be another amazing innovation that no one appreciates?

[Photo courtesy Flickr user Highways Agency]

Walkie talkies work everywhere – Road trip tip

Walkie talkies use radio waves to communicate directly with each other, unlike cell phones, which rely on a cell phone tower as a go-between.

People on road trips often end up in rural areas where cell phones are useless. A couple of inexpensive walkie talkies can help your group stay in touch, as well as keep the kids entertained.

Bonus tip: Walkie talkies also work on cruise ships!

Sit on an ant hill in Finland, win a prize

What can’t you do in Finland? If traditional activities don’t scratch your bizarre itch, try to endure sweltering heat or hurling electronic devices. This country is home to the strangest “sporting events” you can imagine … and it’s enough to make me consider going back.

Throughout the year, you’ll find more than 40 weird contests, some titillating and others just plain freakish. I’ll pass on the World Sauna Championships, as sitting in a sweat box isn’t exactly a good time. My wife is probably thinking of trying the World Cell Phone Throwing Championships on my behalf (I can’t put the damned thing down, sometimes). Hay mowing contests don’t interest me, but I’d probably enjoy being a spectator at the topless winter jogging event … hey, at least nobody will need sunblock!

Yeah, there’s more.

Air guitar playing, swamp football and table-tapping challenges are hosted in this Scandinavian wonderland. Depending on your better half’s disposition, you can even try wife-carrying.

Check the calendar of events after the jump.


Wife-Carrying: This occurs at Sonkajärvi, in eastern Finland. The contest dates back to 1992, though the tradition traces to the 19th century (if you can believe the locals). The world championships are held on July 3 and 4.

Mobile-Phone Throwing: Staged in Punkaharju, also in eastern Finland, show up on August 22 to throw an “official” cell phone as far as you can. In case you were worried, “there will be no doping tests. However the jury can rule out the contestant if his/her mental or physical preparedness is not adequate for full a performance.” I guess that means everyone.

Sauna Bathing Contest: Attend the 11th Sauna World Championships in Heinola, and you’ll get hot. It’s held on August 7 and 8, during which “competitors have to sit in the sauna with buttocks and thighs on the seat.” Wait, it gets better: “Posture must be erect [I bet!]; elbows must stay on the knees and arms have to be in an upright position. The competitor will have to leave the sauna without outside help; otherwise he/she will be disqualified.”

Air Guitar Playing: Your friends used to laugh at you … and they will again if they watch you at this unusual competition. You and other would-be rock stars will converge on Club Teatria in Oulu in northern Finland (where else would you find something like this?). If you aren’t ready for prime time, attend a training session, lecture or demonstration. (No, you can’t make this shit up.) The event runs from August 19 to 21.

Swamp Football: It is what it is. Go to Hyrynsalmi on July 17 and 18 and try to kick a soccer ball in the mud. There’s no offside rule, which clearly solves everything.

In case these aren’t eccentric enough for you, there are other choices: mosquito swatting, milking stool throwing and sitting on an ant’s nest. I really wish I were lying about this last one … I really do.