The airline announced today it will allow passengers to make in-flight phone calls, send and receive texts, check e-mail, and surf the Web via general packet radio service (GPRS) from inside A330 Airbus planes on flights between New York and London. The airline expects to offer the service in 20 planes by year's end, it said in a press release. Boeing 747s are also being retrofitted for the service.
"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, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat! We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wish list," explained Steve Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic.
"It's also quite fun to call home and say "Guess where I am" not many people would think you're travelling at 35,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean."
Unfortunately, Virgin will be charging about $1.20 per minute for the service, and access will be limited to six passengers at a time.
"The service is intended for use in exceptional situations, when passengers need to send an SMS, make a quick call, or access an e-mail on a BlackBerry," the company said.
Initially only Telefonica's O2 and Vodafone customers will get access to the AeroMobile powered service.