BA rules out in-flight phone calls

17 Dec 2014 by GrahamSmith

British Airways will not allow passengers to make in-flight mobile phone calls, the airline's chief commerical officer has revealed.

Andrew Crawley told Business Traveller that despite trialling in-flight wifi on its short-haul fleet, BA will restrict mid-air mobile phone calls, although text messaging might be permitted.

He said: "We are not going to allow mobile phone use on planes — maybe text messages. We are going to do what our customers want.

"These days, people are so busy, they see that flight as thinking time, the only 'me time' they get these days."

So far, very few airlines have introduced technology enabling people to make voice calls in the sky. Virgin Atlantic and Emirates are two examples but these carriers are in the minority, and the capability is not available on all their aircraft.

Currently, only BA's all-business-class A318 that serves the London City to New York JFK route is fitted with mobile data connectivity for emails and SMS.

However, Crawley said that BA is looking into rolling out on-board wifi across its short-haul fleet in the near future.

He said: "We have signed an memorandum of understanding with Inmarsat to look at installing wifi on our short-haul aircraft. We are also are testing wifi on one of our B747s.

"If we did introduce it, we would charge for it but the trial is free. There are not that many routes when use goes above 20 per cent so we need to know people are going to use it as the costs of installing it are going to be high."

Jenny Southan

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