European Airline to Allow Mobiles Onboard

An article in today’s issue of the Financial Times, says that flights on discount airline, RyanAir, are going to make use of mobile telephones available on their entire fleet of Boeing 737-800s over the next two years. AirFrance will launch the first trial of the same system, which uses technology developed by OnAir, in February, while RyanAir hopes to have obnoxious ringtones going off at 35,000 feet starting in July. BMI British Midlands and TAP Air Portugal will also be testing the OnAir system in Q2 2007.

For those that are worried about the inevitable volume increase the addition of mobile phone service to airliners will cause, Ryan Air’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary tells customers to expect nothing less from his airline.

"If you want a quiet flight, use another airline. Ryanair is noisy, full and we are always trying to sell you something."

Nonetheless, there is some hope that airlines without Ryanair’s brashness will limit the calling to some degree: According to the Financial Times piece, pilots can control the service and are likely to switch to "silent" mode on night flights, blocking calls but allowing text messages.