It's not as if in-flight calling is a novel idea: Numerous airlines have given it a shot, and the US government has emphatically put the kibosh on it. Until now, however, making voice calls from 30,000 feet has often required that airlines retrofit their aircraft with additional equipment -- a costly investment that invariably gets passed down to passengers. In the case of Gogo's forthcoming Text & Talk service, though, customers will be able to make voice calls and send text messages using the same in-flight WiFi service they already use for web surfing. Additionally, Gogo has inked agreements with 200-plus carriers worldwide, which means you'll be able to use your own phone number in the air and simply "roam" onto Gogo's WiFi network. Unfortunately, it's still unclear when the service will roll out, how much it will cost or which airlines will offer it. One thing's for sure, though: Gogo doesn't expect any US airlines to support voice calls. In fact, says a company rep, the service might be called "Gogo Text" here in the states, with nary a mention of "talking."
The only catch -- if you can call it that -- is that to use the service, you'll need to download Gogo's free Text & Talk app (available for iOS and Android) before you take off. Additionally, you'll need to register your phone number while you're on the ground and still have access to your regular service provider -- basically, Gogo and your carrier need to do a virtual handshake and confirm that you are, in fact, a customer on that network. It's a quick and easy setup process, as the screenshots below can attest; it's just not something you can do impulsively mid-flight.