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Virgin Atlantic allows for mobile phone calls

Virgin Atlantic is to become the first British airline to allow mobile calls on board, spelling bad news for all those who enjoy the serenity of not having to answer any calls for a few hours.

A number of commercial fleets have already tried the technology with a range of success, however this marks the first British carrier to offer the service. The notion of calling from the skies first hailed from Emirates who unveiled the service in 2006. Now Virgin has jumped on board, and passengers flying between London and New York on the new airbus A330 will be able to send and receive text messages, emails and even have web access.

Fears of flying with a plane full of people on phones can be kept relatively low, however, as only ten people at a time can use the mobile service. Limited bandwidth means that access to the service is minimal and expensive. In-flight calls will cost £1 a minute and texts will be 20p.

The service will not operate during take-off or landing, and devices will still have to be switched off 250 miles before the aircraft enters America airspace due to US laws.

“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 remind a family member to feed the cat,” said 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.” While travel insurance  won’t cover the cost of your overseas phone bill, it could help to cover your phone if lost or stolen. But before taking out travel insurance, it might be worth reviewing the policy details.

Date Created: 06 June 2012

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