Virgin Atlantic launches onboard mobile phone services
Virgin has become the first Britishcarrier to allow mobile phone calls on its new Airbus A330 aircraft, with plans to extend the service to its Boeing 747s.
The carrier says it will have 20 aircraft fitted with the Aeromobile technology by the end of 2012, including B747s currently undergoing a £50 million refurbishment programme.
The carrier recently launched the ability to make and receive mobile phone calls onboard its new three-class Airbus A330 aircraft, which also features Virgin’s revamped Upper Class cabin.
Passengers in all cabins are able to make and receive phone calls, as well as send and receive text messages, and access email and the internet via GPRS.
Greg Dawson, Virgin Atlantic's director of corporate communications, 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.”
Customers will be charged according to their provider’s international roaming rates. But currently agreements have only been signed with O2 and Vodafone, so passengers using other networks cannot use the service.
Passengers will not be allowed to make calls during take-off and landing, and US law requires that the service be disabled when aircraft are within 250 miles of its airspace.
British Airways offers OnAir mobile phone technology on its A318 Club World City flights between London City and New York, but phone calls are currently disabled, with only emails and text messages being permitted to be made and received.