Mobile Phones - Take to the Air

by : Liam G

The "no smoking" light on certain aircraft may soon be replaced with a "service indicator" for mobile phones, as onboard mobile phones use becomes the norm upon flights throughout most of Europe.

Since their introduction, mobile phone use aboard planes has been banned on the premise that phone signals cause interference with sensitive aircraft equipment, similar to the situation within hospitals.

This is because when a mobile phone is unable to easily attain a signal, as is the case when airborne; it automatically boots its signal strength.

However, a couple of European airline companies have recently implemented new technologies and started trialling services that allow their passengers to use their mobile phones.

Certain flights boarding in Norway and France will now allow the use of mobile phones when the plain is above 3,000 meters. The cost for this service is similar to typical roaming service charges.

It's important to note though, that coverage will vary from country to country, as it depends on whether or not that countries' government has deemed phone use on aircraft safe.

With regards to Europe, both Spain and Portugal are yet to agree to the service.

Similar plans are in the pipeline for British airlines, with both BA and Virgin currently assessing customer demand for such services.

It has been identified that passengers may not appreciate other passengers' phones going off or loud conversation, especially on long haul flights which many passengers prefer to sleep through.

Therefore, before the service is adopted in the UK, further surveys are going to be conducted so that airlines are able to get a clear picture of what their customers do an do not want.