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Royal Jordanian launches in-flight mobile service

24 Feb 2009 by Sara Turner

Oneworld member Royal Jordanian Airlines is the latest carrier to allow in-flight mobile phone calls.

Travellers can now use mobile phones to make and receive calls while in the air, and exchange text and multimedia messages. Passengers with smartphones can also send emails and access the internet.

The service is currently available on just one of the Middle Eastern airline’s new A319 aircraft – flying to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and India – but will be rolled out on the rest of the RJ (Royal Jordanian) A320 fleet in the future.

Samer Majali, president and chief executive of RJ, said of the new A319 plane: “It is the first RJ aircraft equipped with its own miniature cell network, so that onboard phones communicate at minimal power levels, which do not compromise flight safety. A satellite link then transmits signals to and from the ground.”

To make a call, passengers use their phones in the same way as on the ground, by dialing 00 followed by the country code and the destination number. The cost of the call is charged at international roaming rates, as the aircraft is considered a foreign country in the sky. Passengers are then billed by their mobile provider at home.

The service (provided by in-flight communications provider OnAir) can be used from about ten minutes after take-off until about ten minutes before landing. Overhead signs and cabin crew announcements inform passengers when they may turn on their mobile devices.

Royal Jordanian Airlines joins a list of carriers with in-flight mobile phone facilities. Ryanair launched its service earlier this month (see online news February 19), with Emirates the first to offer the service as of March last year (see online news March 20, 2008). British Airways recently announced that it will offer mobile data services on its forthcoming all-business class flights from London City to New York (see online news January 23).

Visit rja.com.jo for more information.

Report by Sara Turner

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