back to article Hi hon, I'm on d plane

Qantas has been given permission to start testing in-flight mobile phone use, though for now usage will be restricted to data only and on just one aircraft. According to CNet, lucky passengers on the selected Boeing 767, flying between Australian cities over the next three months, will be able to send and receive 160-character …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh No!

    One step closer!

    Its bad enough being stuck between the spoilt brat who crys because Mum and dad wont fork out £20 for the plane model and the fat sweaty man who dosen't know what deodarant is and didn't think a shower might be a good idea befor being stuck in a confined space for three hours.

    I don't like flying as it is (Not through fear, just being on the plane in cattle class), but having half the plane having a buisness meeting with there Hong Kong office (Or pretending to) and the other half just pratteling on and on (Ye Its realy nice... Oh its so sunny up hear... Oh that man is giving me the evil eye. I wonder why) I will never go on holiday again.

  2. Joe

    Carbon conspiracy

    Perhaps it's the government's way of reducing the number of flights we all take? They daren't anger the air travel lobby and this looks like a positive for them, whereas the real people will spend one flight in cattle class surrounded by people jabbering on their phones and vow never to fly again...

  3. Tim

    So is it safe?

    So is it safe to have a mobile phone on a plane or not? Is the test going to be if the plane crashes or has any glitches it's not, otherwise it's fine?

    Also it just seems rather strange that if mobile phone signals are safe that they'd do such a small test, unless it's to say, check how much it would affect their onboard phone earnings before rolling it out across the fleet.

  4. Chris Miller

    Safe (probably)

    The system relies on a 'pico-cell' inside the aircraft, so all mobiles should be able to communicate using minimum power (a small fraction of a watt). My concern is what happens when the pico-cell fails or is switched off. AFAIK all the mobiles on board will automatically boost their signal up to the max (a watt or two) in a (probably) futile attempt to contact the next nearest base-station 35,000 feet below (or maybe 1,000 miles away if you're in mid-Atlantic).

    This should provide a good test of whether EM interference from a phone is really dangerous to avionics or if it was all just a wheeze to boost airline revenues from on-board sat phones. Hands up everyone who wants to be on the first flight when this happens!

  5. Rob

    Making it easier for the terrorist...No?

    So the terrorist doesn't have to be on the plane now to activate the bomb, they can safely phone/text the mobile thing that activates the bomb from the safety of their living room/hideout/government office*.

    * delete as appropriate

    Also when do you find out the Pica cell isn't working, when you get home to a roaming bill of a few hundred pounds?

    Also (swear this is the last one), from what I've read it's going one below cattle class, the carriers I've read that will be trialling it are chav class, don't think I need to paint a picture of what the conversations will be like onboard those planes.

  6. Jason

    Chav class?

    "the carriers I've read that will be trialling it are chav class, don't think I need to paint a picture of what the conversations will be like onboard those planes."

    "Yeeeeah man, it's buzzzzzing!!! This plane is Wicked!!!!"

    Might be the right time to take up terrorism....

  7. Silas Humphreys

    Cattle class?

    If you treated cattle that badly you'd be nicked, mate.

  8. Lee Humphries

    Roam, roam on the plane

    Apart from a few anecdotal stories about cell/mobile phones interfering with an aircraft's avionics (e.g. mobile phones being 'blamed' by investigators of 'incidents') I've never heard any definitive proof of this.

    More significantly why should several hundred cattle and an airline, which has spent many 10s/100s million of dollars on a piece of tin, put faith in said piece of tin when it can be taken down by a single obsessive compulsive teenager who can't not talk to her friends for half an hour. It *never* made sense.

    An alternative explanation, also anecdotal but fits with this story, is that passing by so many cell sites so quickly means that the billing of your call can't keep up as you hop from cell to cell too fast. That airline profit engine Qantas, the one that introduced fuel surcharges so it could gouge it's frequent flyers to pay almost full price for their 'free flights', is never one to turn up a chance to screw over it's customers (sorry cattle) with 'international' roaming charges while they're flying over their own country.

  9. Daniel Silver badge

    Remote detonator anyone?

    Hmm .... wonder what this will do to the security guidelines at airports. Up until now, most security measures have been put in place to prevent people putting bombs in their rucksacks/shoes/belts/drinking water, but now the terrorist shites can put their noisemakers in the cargo compartment (with a GSM detonator of course), then set it off from the safety of the passenger cabin. ("Safety" being, of course, a relative term)

    How long will it be before we're not allowed to take *any* baggage *at all* on flights? Or clothes and shoes, for that matter?

    Think I'll start a nudist airline with free GSM calls - that should win 'em over.

  10. Woody


    Am I am missing something here?

    If this new technology is only in early testing phases, then....

    How exactly did people on hijacked flights on September 11, 2001 manage to make calls to family members?

    Audio quality on the recordings of these calls released to the media sounded perfect and that was almost 6 years ago?

    Has this been covered before, anyone know the answer?

    PS: I forgot one of my phones im my hand luggage when flying a few years ago, it was on throughout the long haul flight and nothing went obviously wrong.

  11. Stephen Wilcox

    What bombs?

    So everyone is obsessed with using a phone as a detonator.. you could just use a timer or wait til the phone got a signal when it was landing.

    But so what if it was setup that way, arent we forgetting that bombs need explosives and thats the tricky bit

  12. Paul

    The Flight 93 callers didn't use mobiles...

    Unbeknown to the poster above (and the producers of that ridiculous 'documentary' Loose Change) all US commercial aircraft have a satellite phone on each row of seats in economy (and plenty more in business and first) that any passenger can use with the swipe of a credit card.

    It is these phones that were used by the Flight 93 callers; I doubt the mammoth costs were much of a concern to them making the last calls to their loved ones before impending doom, but I bet they were still charged.

    It is most probably the vast profits generated by these airphones, and not safety concerns, that has kept mobiles out of aircraft for so long. The same is true for British hospitals where safety concerns have been mostly invented in order to charge patients 50p a minute to make and receive calls on beside phones installed by private operators. But that's another story.

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