Cell Phones on Airlines: Coming Soon to a Seat Near You?
More and more international airlines are offering in-flight cell services and it might not be long before calls are routine on domestic U.S. flights as well. Cathay Pacific has now announced that, starting in 2012, it will equip its entire fleet with an onboard cell phone system for GSM mobile phones. Virgin Atlantic announced a similar plan last month for its newest planes.
Here in the U.S. the Federal Communications Commission prevents domestic carriers from following their international peers, and legislation is pending in Congress to ban in-flight cell-phone conversations. But some in the industry say it's only a matter of time before American airlines start bringing voice communication to the friendly skies.
Aviation Week, in 2004 printed - 'Qualcomm and American Airlines are exploring ways for passengers to use commercial cell phones inflight for air-to-ground communication'. They did a test with the aircraft being equipped with a special antenna in the front and rear of the cabin to transmit cell phone calls to a small in-cabin CDMA cellular base station. This "pico cell" transmitted cell phone calls from the aircraft via a Globalstar satellite to the worldwide terrestrial phone network.
Randy Petersen, editor and publisher of InsideFlyer magazine said, "We will see this in U.S. airplanes in the near future."
In the future? WTF?
Don't these people who are on the cutting edge of modern cell phone technology realize that way back there in September of 2001, there were several cell calls made with 2001 technology cell phones from an aircraft at speed up there at altitude in the sky?
Didn't they hear Mark Bingham say "Hello Mom, this is your son Mark Bingham."? He also said, "You believe me, don't you?"
Did they miss Cee Cee Lyles saying, "I'm on a plane. I'm on a plane that's been hijacked. I'm calling from the plane." and "Tell my children I love them ..." Not naming her children.
And a whole mess of other cell phone calls, all purportedly from that tragic Flight 93 while flying way up there in the air.
And a note; cell phone calls are not to be confused with airphone calls.
Nice to think that someday we'll be able to call friends and relatives from a plane in the air from a cell phone! Wonder who made all those other calls on that day?
Haven't these advanced thinking techies ever heard of 9-11? Shanksville? UAL Flight 93? Well evidently not.
But we have, haven't we?