Flying on a commercial airline can be a very annoying proposition. If you're like me and always seem to get stuck in the middle seat between two people who should have purchased a pair of seats each, a flight can be a nightmare. I can only imagine how annoying it would be if those two people were chatting away on their mobile phones during the entire flight.
While using a mobile phone isn't allowed on commercial flights within United States, Emirates has announced that it will begin allowing passengers on its A380 airline fleet to use their cell phones while in flight. The service works with normal mobile phones in conjunction with an in-flight Wi-Fi company called OnAir. Since the FAA bans the use of cell phones in the United States on commercial flights, the service is shut off when Emirates aircraft are within 250 miles of the US.
The airline says that the first call was placed using its new in-flight phone service on October 2 and was made in China. It's no surprise that this particular airline is among the first to offer in-flight call capabilities. Emirates equipped its Airbus fleet with phones and fax machines during the 1990s and has offered the ability to e-mail and text message to all passengers since 2006.
The FCC has indicated that it would reconsider some of its block on using electronics during flights in the US. Recently, the FAA has been clear the way to allow aircraft pilots and crew members to use tablets such as the iPad during all aspects of flight. However, the FAA has specified that allowing voice calls during flights on passenger phones isn't being considered.