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European carriers to test OnAir inflight cellphone service

Marc Perton

planeThe FAA may make sure you'll never be able to make cellphone calls on U.S. flights, much to the chagrin of Boeing (which would love some customers for its Connexion inflight calling service) and to the joy of sleepy travelers. However, Europe is determined to go its own way on inflight calling, and two carriers — TAP Air Portugal and British budget airline bmi — have announced the first major trial runs for OnAir, a Connexion rival developed by Airbus and Dutch company SITA Information Networking Computing. "This trial will guide us on usage patterns and some of the social issues in using mobile phones on aircraft," bmi Chief Executive Nigel Turner told the AP. We can make some guesses about the social issues, and we hope Turner has hired some tough flight attendants, who can deal with the battles that are sure to break out once inflight calling begins.

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