Should Virgin Atlantic permit passengers to make mobile calls?
So Sir Richard Branson’s airline, Virgin Atlantic, has announced that has announced that it will be the first British carrier to allow passengers to use their mobile phones on board.
Anyone flying from London to New York on Virgin’s new Airbus A3330 will be able to make calls, send and receive text messages and use the internet via GPRS.
According to Steve Griffith, Virgin Atlantic’s chief operating officer, this is what we want: “Connectivity in the air is always on the wish list,” said Griffith.
I am not sure who Griffith spoke to but it certainly wasn’t the CD-Traveller team! I, like many of my colleagues, would think twice about booking a flight with Branson’s airline when it introduces its mid flight mobile phone system later this year.
One of the reasons I favour planes over trains and buses is because they offer an escape from Blackberry smart phones, iPhones and other go-anywhere, always-on gadgets. Virgin’s director of corporate communications disagrees. Indeed Greg Dawson is on record as saying: “Many people will have experienced that moment when you’re about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat!”
Regardless, I hope Virgin reconsider their plans. Modern air travel is stressful enough as it is without being forced to listen to a noisy neighbour’s conversation when up in the air.