Friday, June 27, 2008

Personal Electronic Devices On Airplanes?

You’re cruising along tens of thousands of feet above the ground when you hear the familiar text message tone of your mobile phones, you check it out and your friend has informed you that the pictures from his holiday have just gone online and wished you a happy vacation too. Not to be outdone you open your laptop and connect to the internet and see the aforementioned vacation photos, you then send an email back to your buddy vowing to beat them when you finally land at your holiday destination.

That may sound like something from the high tech dreams of Richard Branson and his space travel planes but in reality you’ll soon be able to do all of this from the economy section of your flight to your holiday destination within the next few years.

Air travel has been popular for jet-setting businessmen and women for many years and obviously since the vast majority cannot be separated from their Blackberry or their laptop for any given period of time, flight companies have strived to appeal to these regular customers by enabling them to use their gizmos on the flight.

But for many years we’ve been told that we shouldn’t use electronic devices on planes as there’s a chance we could mess with the computers on board the plane and potentially cause an accident. Well last year the idea of having a small cellular phone base station on board planes called a Picocell would provide service coverage for the mobile phones on board flights. These Picocells link up with the cell networks on the ground to enable passengers to make calls and send text messages mid flight.

The flight company Virgin America now has a plethora of technical gadgets to keep many geeks happy including headrest TVs that show internet podcasts and news shows. Power outlets for laptops have become popular to with flights to the USA for business class passengers in case the battery dies out whilst working on that important spreadsheet sue when you arrive.

Now American Airlines is testing in flight Broadband internet on flights from New York to Los Angeles. The service is initially free to the lucky test subjects but a charge of $12.95 for flights longer than three hours but some select sites will be free to browse such as American Airlines own website as well as the famous Frommer’s travel guides site as well as some news sites.

So some day soon we are going to be able to take all our electrical goods on flights with us as well as being able to actually use them, the rule that you aren’t to use them during takeover and landing still remains but once your cruising at 35,000 ft you’ll be able to surf the internet and take important business calls all from the comfort of business class

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