Like it or not, a new era has dawned. More than a year later than anticipated, Emirates says that the world's first authorized cellphone call was made by a passenger during an Airbus A340 flight between Dubai and Casablanca. Once the aircraft reached cruising altitude, passengers were permitted to make and receive both calls and text messages. Emirates plans to fit additional aircraft with the interference-blocking AeroMobile system later this year while adding BlackBerry and "other data services." To keep the annoyance factor to a minimum, the flight crew requests passengers to silence their ringers and will shut off the in-flight service when appropriate. For example, during long-haul, red-eye flights or breaking celebrity scandals on TMZ... we hope.

[Thanks, Jonathan F and Andrew B.]