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For many travellers, one of the pleasures of flying is the chance to turn off their mobile phone, catch up on films and drift off to sleep; but things are about to change.
Lufthansa is changing the way their travellers fly, after they signed a deal allowing passengers to use their mobile phones on board from next summer.
Other airlines including British Airways are also expected to follow suit, making mobile usage the norm on all European flights by the summer of 2017.
Remaining plugged in
Under these plans, that were unveiled this week, travellers will now have ample opportunity to answer their emails, log onto Facebook and even post a selfie for the world to see – and the best part is they can expect the same broadband speeds they receive on the ground.
While telephone calls won’t be able to be made, some airlines may allow passengers to talk to friends and families mid-air using internet-based services like Skype.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation – the satellite firm behind the scheme, said there is a huge appetite among younger travellers who desire to remain “plugged in” to the internet and their social lives throughout their journey.
It’s all about the technology
A number of airlines in the USA have already experimented with internet access on board, however, the Inmarsat broadband service on all European flights is set to be around 10 times faster.
While airlines will theoretically be allowed to charge its passengers for internet access, many mainstream carriers in Europe are expected to offer it for free – or as a perk to loyal customers.
Inmarsat said it will be combining a number of different technologies to relay its signals at 4G speeds and it will have the ability to continually update, to keep pace with advances in broadband.
British Airways is yet to sign up to the scheme, but has agreed a formal “memorandum of understanding” with Inmarsat and is in talks about introducing this new initiative.
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Date Created: 23/09/2015