Text but don't talk in the air [telecom]


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Texting, browsing to be allowed in-flight May 28, 2010 - 1:14PM

Passengers flying on some Air New Zealand planes will be able to send text messages and emails mid-flight, by the end of the year.

But the airline must convince the NZ Civil Aviation Authority that the practice is safe before an exemption is granted to a rule that prohibits the use of portable electronic devices on flights, The New Zealand Herald reported.

The national carrier plans to allow people to send and receive text messages and emails on their iPhones, Blackberries and GSM mobiles on their new 777-300 aircrafts by November.

The new service would also allow passengers to go online using their mobile broadband connection, but the airline doesn't plan to allow voice calls on board.

Passengers will be requested to keep their phones on silent mode, Air New Zealand Group general manager Ed Sims said.

Customers will be billed by their own mobile service, like any other global roaming plan, but in-flight costs will apply.

A press release from Air New Zealand said the service is "subject to regulatory approval".

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority told reporters the exemption would be similar to the one which allows the use of phones on "flight mode" after take-off and before landing.

The airline and the authority are in discussions and would come to an agreement before the service is launched at the end of the year, the Herald said.


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David Clayton
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