Virgin Atlantic already has in-flight Wifi, sweet personal entertainment systems and the ability to order alcoholic beverages from your seat’s TV screen. Now, TechCrunch reports that the company is further boosting its tech offerings by making in-flight cell phone service available for some flights between New York and London.
Virgin Atlantic is teaming up with Telenor subsidiary AeroMobile to bring this service to its Airbus 330 planes….International calls will start at $1.29 per minute and go up from there depending on where you are calling. Travelers will be able to make voice calls, send text messages and access data.
Admittedly, our first reaction was, “Cool!” But have you ever been on an Amtrak train without a quiet car? Or worse… a Chinatown bus? People will talk on their phone for hours, and whether or not they’re bugging the shit out of you is the least of their worries.
Flying is already an interminable hassle, but with iPods and personal TVs and copious amounts of Tylenol PM, planes are actually pretty quiet. Can you imagine having to endure a 10-hour international flight sitting next to an indefatigable chatty Cathy? We’ll all be pulling a Steven Slater and inflating the emergency slide in no time.
Thankfully, regulations make it illegal for cell phones to be used within the U.S., so service will only begin after the plane is 250 miles from U.S. territory. That means that at least for now, domestic travelers are safe from loquacious, phone-obsessed seat mates. As for protection from screaming babies, well–there’s always these.