There is absolutely no technical reason for aircraft to not allow cell phone use in-flight. The only issue today is the lack of cell service at that altitude or above water, but that is a technical problem that has already been solved. Airlines like Emirates provide cell phone service on almost all their flights, with an on-board cell tower. It is tine for the airlines to get to the 21st century and make some money along the way.
We live today in a ever-more connected world. We have always-on internet on our phones and tablet devices. We want and need 24/7 access to cellular voice, text and data services. A multi-hour (14 hour flight to Tokyo anyone?) flight being cut-off from the world is unacceptable to most and is taken in with gritted teeth. For executives and businessmen, not just your teenage Facebook junkie suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), loss of access is really not the best situation.
Airlines are working hard to add internet service to their flights. They see it as a source of revenue and a differentiator from airlines that do not offer WiFi. I believe they are making a big mistake. For one, they are mostly installing ground based internet service (the US based airlines, I mean) and not satellite based service. While this is cheaper, it only offers service when over the mainland US of A. Nothing over the oceans or other countries. Secondly, I think they ar just missing the mark my not going with cellular service. They can make more money charging for ‘roaming’ voice and data services and use the same cellular network to provide WiFi for customers just looking for internet access.
As airlines strive to make air travel more comfortable (US Airways not included) and add premium economy and high priced First Class Suites, cellular service is something that everyone knows and wants. I may not be willing t pay for turn-down service in First Class, but I will certainly pay to call or FaceTime my family from somewhere over Greenland.
It is time.
Do you agree with me? Leave a comment.
Read my earlier posts: