Malaysia Airlines has
become the first Asian carrier to offer in-flight mobile phone and PDA
delivered the same technology to Emirates earlier this year (see online news
March 20), has installed the system on a trial Boeing 777-200 aircraft that
will serve European, Australian and Asian routes.
Following weeks of
testing, passengers can now use Blackberrys or mobiles for texting, calls and
email during the cruise period of the flight. They will be charged at standard
international roaming rates by their own service providers.
Malaysia Airlines says passengers
will be reminded by cabin crew to be courteous with their phone use during
night flights, and will be asked to keep their phones on silent or vibrate.
If the trial is
successful the system will be put in place throughout the carrier’s fleet next
year on routes to Africa, Japan
and the Middle East, as well as regional
Bmi and Ryanair are
both committed to testing the system on their aircraft, and hope to install it throughout
their fleets in the near future. Qantas recently announced it will be bringing
out the service on its domestic flights and V Australia’s new Boeing 777
aircraft will also carry the system.
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Report by Liat Clark