In a move that is bound to simultaneously please and annoy most airline passengers, Emirates
is busting out in-flight cellphone service for its planes, in partnership with Aeromobile. The service will be similar to that of Ryanair
, 'cept Emirates plans to beat them to the punch by having its first 777 equipped by January, as opposed to mid-'07 for the competition. Rates for phone usage are apparently "comparable to international tariffs," meaning "dang expensive," but it should be at least a bit better than the extortion of those lame satellite phones. Also, the whole system can be controlled by the cabin crew, so phone operation can be limited to texting for overnight flights or whatnot. Aeromobile claims to be currently in talks with other airlines in regards to implementing its system, and expects in-flight call revenue to be as large as £1.5 billion (2.85 billion US) by 2010.