Virgin Atlantic will provide passengers with a service to make and receive phone calls in the air, the British airline announced in a statement on Tuesday. Passengers will also be allowed to send and receive text messages, emails and have web access via GPRS.
The new mobile phone system will be available throughout the aircraft in all cabins and is targeted at business travellers, the carrier added.
Currently, the service will only be available on Virgin’s new A330 aircraft flying from London to New York and on the airline’s B747 aircraft, which is undergoing a 50 million ($80 million) refurbishment. Nearly 20 aircraft will provide the service by the end of the year.
“We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wish list,” Brad West, country manager, UAE, at Virgin Atlantic said in a statement.
“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.
“It’s also quite fun to call home and say ‘Guess where I am’ – not many people will think you’re travelling at 35,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean,” he added.
Passengers will be billed for the international roaming charges and the service is currently offered to customers with 02 or Vodafone networks, the statement said.