Online in-flight over the Atlantic
Jan 26 – British Airways announces plans to launch in-flight communications on its new all-business class route from London to New York.
Passengers on the new service will be able to access the Internet and send email using their own mobile and BlackBerry-type devices, but voice-functionality will not be enabled.
Boeing tried this a little while back, lack of demand, technical problems and costs versus return caused them to withdraw. A good idea nearly always finds its time, if this proves to be a success we hope the facility will be rolled out across other fleets.
For routine operational text based communications airlines use ACARS. Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (or ACARS) a digital datalink system for transmission of small messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite.
An airborne internet based service may supplant ACARS and significantly increase the functionality currently available by the now dated (but reliable) ACARS system. What’s more, if subsidized by cabin usage it might be a whole lot cheaper – and we know who likes ‘cheaper’ don’t we?