Virgin Atlantic to offer full mobile access

We have recently told you about the lower price plans that are being announced for when mobile phone users go on holiday within Europe, but as well all know you can’t currently use your handset for many of its features while onboard an aircraft, but it has been announced that Virgin Atlantic are to offer full mobile access aboard its aircraft.

To start with the service will only be available on the airlines new Airbus A330 planes travelling between London and New York, but as The Telegraph are reporting it will be available on seventeen planes and ten routes by the end of 2012. The in-flight mobile access will be provided by AeroMobile that is part owned by Panasonic.

The airline will charge passengers to use the service around the same amount as normal roaming charges. Rival airline British Airways already provides passengers in-flight texts along with web access also on a London to New York route, but the company does not currently allow mobile phone calls during the flight.

Both airlines won’t permit any service during takeoff or landing, and US laws mean that the service must be turned off 250 miles from the country’s airspace. There are only a small number of lines available at any one time due to the limited bandwidth, and only basic web access is available using the GPRS service, but AeroMobile are looking to improve this with upgrades for future services.

Other airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa, and Qantas are among nine carriers that offer AeroMobile, but Virgin Atlantic is the first UK airline to carry it. Airlines in the US already offer in-flight Wi-Fi with limited bandwidth on almost 2,000 aeroplanes, but unfortunately prices are high and the services have yet to gain widespread popularity.

Virgin Atlantics chief operating officer, Steve Griffiths, said that the company hopes to have full Wi-Fi available on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that it hopes to have in service by the end of 2014. The new service is part of a £100 million upgrade to the airlines Upper Class cabin area that begins with the A330, which will also get USB ports for charging equipment along with improved touchscreen in-flight entertainment.

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