In-flight Wi-Fi really arrives and mobile phones look probable

InternetWeek reports that SAS Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday introduced Boeing’s Connexion high-speed wireless access on selected flights out of Copenhagen, with plans to equip its entire long-haul fleet by February. Also on Tuesday, Deutsche Lufthansa AG – one of the most aggressive early adopters of in-flight connectivity – added Connexion to its Munich-Miami and Munich-San Francisco routes. Three days earlier, Japan Airlines introduced the service on its flights between Tokyo and London. All Nippon Airways flights also offer the service.

Great news for writing your blog on your flight (in the old days, it used to be doing your email) and actually publishing it as you fly.

Now what about making a phone call? Many airlines have in-flight phones but, wow, are they pricey to use. So what if you want to use your own mobile phone? As everyone knows, that’s dangerous: using a mobile will interfere with aircraft equipment, as the airlines constantly tell us.

Not necessarily so, according to a BBC News report, which says that the US Federal Communications Commission is to consider how to ease the ban on mobile phones in aircraft. It’s expected to look at two measures: increasing competition to bring down the price of using the phones currently on the back of aircraft seats, and starting to look for technical solutions so ordinary mobile phones can function at high altitudes.

Ah, the progress of technology. Re mobile phones, I’d tend to agree with the BBC’s comment:

At the moment, there is one area of business life which is free of mobile phone chatter. There is one place where we are spared the endless bulletins on the minutiae of other lives: only when we fly do we escape the mobile phone. […] There will no doubt be much public discussion and any change is likely to take some years. Which is good news for those of us who don’t like the cell-phone invasion. A planeload of businessmen chattering away at 35,000 feet is not an attractive thought.

No, not an attractive thought.

So imagine all those folks with Skype accounts and being able to make free calls via their wi-fi internet connections…