Virgin Atlantic rolls out in-flight cell service

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards/FILES

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards/FILES

Reuters

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

Some passengers on Virgin Atlantic flights can now call home from the air.

The airline announced on Tuesday it is providing travellers with a new cellphone service to make and receive phone calls from 10,670 metres in the air.

The service will allow passengers to send and receive text messages, emails and access the Internet on Virgin Atlantic's new Airbus A330-300 planes flying between London and New York.

The in-flight service is targeting business travellers and will be available in all cabins, although limited to six users at a time.

"The service is intended for use in exceptional situations, when passengers need to send an SMS, make a quick call, or access an email on a Blackberry," a company statement said.

Virgin Atlantic said it has been testing the service, called AeroMobile, over the last few months. The airline expects it will be available on nearly 20 Virgin Atlantic aircraft by the end of 2012.

It can be used by customers of networks provided by Telefonica's O2 and Vodafone.

The cellphone service, however, will not be accessible during the entire flight. It cannot be used during take-off or landing and will be shut off approximately 400 km from U.S. airspace.


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