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Mobile calls in flight

Virgin Atlantic has become the first airline in the world to allow mobile phone users to receive and make calls while in the air.

Virgin Atlantic has become the first airline in the world to allow mobile phone users to receive and make calls while in the air.

The breakthrough has been made possible with the introduction of British Telecom’s Skyphone Mobile Connect, which was developed in partnership with the airline.

Skyphone Mobile Connect works by hooking into the in-flight phones that are already common with many long haul aircraft, effectively giving the GSM handset’s phone number to the in-flight system.

This means that it does not interfere with navigation equipment and allowed it to get the green light from airline safety regulators. When a call comes in, the seatback video system in front of the passenger alerts him of the call.

Virgin is charging around $9 per minute for the service.

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