European Union Approves Cell Phones For Flights

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Truth is a force of nature
May 7, 2004
RLG, Fly heading 053, intercept 315 DVV
"The European Union approved cell phone calling for commercial airline flights Monday, but the French and the Germans immediately were at loggerheads on the issue. Air France has already introduced onboard cell phone service while Germany's Lufthansa said its customers don't want the service.

The EU plan would enable passengers to use cell phone voice service over base stations situated on airplanes once flights have reached an altitude of 10,000 feet. "In-flight mobile phone services can be a very interesting new service, especially for those business travelers who need to be ready to communicate wherever they are," said EU telecommunications commissioner Viviane Reding, according to media reports.

Reding, who has long pressured cell phone service providers to lower their roaming rates, immediately served notice that if pricing for in-flight calls is too high, providers will hear from the EU.

Air France began testing cell phone service, using OnAir's SwiftBroadband, on some of its flights last week. OnAir, a unit of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, has pioneered the service in Europe. In-flight cell phone voice service in the United States has been stalled because consumers, the FCC, and airline companies have been lukewarm to the use of cell phones by passengers during flights.

Cell phone voice service on planes is unlikely to become a widespread reality soon. Already Lufthansa has indicated it doesn't want to use the service, although the German airline has said it wants to offer Internet access for its passengers. The airline had offered the service in the past and passengers indicted they liked it."
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Dec 9, 2000
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As a significant business traveler (Exec Platinum on AA, Gold Equiv status on CN, NW, and DAL) - and a big cell phone user, all I can say is this is a bad precedence.

If I had to sit next to some guy talking on his phone, especially while in first class where everyone thinks they are the s**t - I would be pissed. Even the Bose Noise Canceling headphones don't fix a yipper-yapper next to you.



Oct 8, 2007
Lisbon MD
The problem is not the cell phone call...

...It's getting that idiot to shut up and turn the damned thing off while the aircraft is about to land in 0-0 weather on a CAT III approach.

The risk from a cell phone is quite minimal. The problem is that if there is anything else, such as an FM radio, the LO from that radio might leak and cause the VOR or localizer receivers to malfunction. This has been documented and I have personally observed it in my own airplane. It was the subject of a NASA callback issue years ago.

Getting people to understand what the risks are and aren't is not for the faint of heart. They'll figure a phone is no different from an IPOD or an MP3 player with an FM receiver, and then they'll really screw things up.

This is what the road to hell is paved with...
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