April 25, 2007 9:23 AM PDT

In-flight texts to take off in the U.S.?

U.S. budget airline JetBlue is considering an in-flight text messaging service but does not want noisy mobile phone calls on its aircraft.

David Neeleman, founder and chief executive of JetBlue, said text communications could prove attractive but agrees with the misgivings of many U.S. airline executives about the onboard use of cell phones for voice calls.

A representative for JetBlue told Silicon.com that in-flight text messaging could happen in the near future and that if the company allows cell phones on its flights, then they will only be used as "silent options"--meaning passengers would be allowed to send and receive text messages and listen to voice mail, but incoming and outgoing calls would be barred.

The movement to make mile-high mobiles a reality is gathering pace at other airlines, too--the U.K.'s Ryanair is planning to allow mobile access on all its flights by mid-2007, and Australian national carrier Qantas has been given the green light to start an in-flight mobile trial of SMS (Short Message Service) and e-mail.

Air France was due to launch an in-flight mobile service last month but was forced to delay it until the summer. It will now kick off a six-month mobile trial--including data services and voice calls--in July.

Gemma Simpson of Silicon.com reported from London.

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Noise Problems On Flights
While I understand the reluctance of airline execs to allow cell phones on planes, it doesn't really address the annoyance levels at all.

If they were truly concerned with noisy annoyances, they would not allow babies to fly - I cannot count how many screaming all flight long kids I have flown with.

Please don't think I'm proposing not allowing kids to fly, just the contrast of the two positions -

If they are willing to allow crying babies, it seems objecting a modest cell phone conversation is kind of moot.

And this doesn't even start to address drunks...
Posted by birdcat (1 comment )
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Modest cell phone conversation...
I'm a bit unusual in that babies crying don't bother me all that
much. Perhaps because I am a father of twins. But what, pray
tell, is a "modest" cell phone conversation? Determining what
calls were over the line would add to the annoyance. And as for
drunks, just allow them to drink as much as possible. I say that
because the worst thing they ever did on Delta 31 from Moscow
was to enforce the ban on consumption of passengers' own
alcoholic beverages. Those so inclined would gather in little
knots of drinking parties for a couple of hours and then sleep it
off for the remaining 8 or so. After the ban began to be
enforced, the same folks spent the whole 10 hours roaming
around talking. I'm pretty much kidding about the alcohol part,
but not entirely!
Posted by billmosby (536 comments )
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Babies and their cell phones
Babies have been around on planes a lot longer that cell phones. Why ADD yet another reason to disturb passengers by allowing cell phone banter when they haven't addressed the baby crying noise issue first? Why justify one problem with another?

If you can talk on your cell phone then I can use my DVD player without head phones. It just goes downhill from there.

And who determines what a "modest" phone call is? The drunk parent whose baby is crying? Please! The day people can police their own volume levels in a cell phone conversation is the day hell freezes over.
Posted by kojacked (1129 comments )
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