back to article British Airways to enable mid-Atlantic texting

British Airways has announced that customers crossing the pond on their new service from City Airport to New York will be able to send text messages and access the internet from the middle of the Atlantic. The new service, which will launch later in the year, is business class only and will stop off in Ireland on the way to …

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Coat

Hang on a minute...

... how are they going to distinguish between the buisness class users, and the economy users? there is virtually no way whatsoever.

(short of putting people through the x-ray machine after their bags, and swiping their phones, that is. hey, then you could see concealed weapons & bags of illcit substances. i may be onto something here. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.)

i say patent pending.

howsabout a brand new people-safe x-ray machine, with all new 'Sizzle Technology©', 'Even

Cooking Module©', and that included self replicating 'Just Fried Bacon™' smell? all for just under £1.1M per machine.

Mines the oone with lead lining.

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Thumb Down

NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!1

So no sleeping then, just the incessant beep-beep beep-beep of text messaging for 8 hours.

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Why?

"Voice calls won't be allowed initially, but could come later."

Surely voice calls, internet acces, text messaging have no real difference from an interference point of view?

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Stop

NOOOOOOOOOO

NO VOICE CALLS ON PLANES. 8 HOURS CROSSING THE ATLANTIC WITH SOME TW*T DISCUSSING THEIR WEEKEND IS A BAD IDEA

As long as phones are on silent and used for data / text messages / etc I have no problem. In fact it's a good idea- you can keep in contact with home if required, or tell someone you'll be late and they should turn up at 9pm instead of 8:30. But VOICE calls on phones- or anything that makes so much as an electronic beep- should be banned.

They should also make sure that the data connection doesn't cause the dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit sound over the plane's PA system.

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@AC 13:58

"... how are they going to distinguish between the buisness class users, and the economy users? there is virtually no way whatsoever."

Well first they will read the article and realise that the whole plane is business class only and not just this service.

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RE: Why?

I can think of two reasons off the top of my head:

1) To stop the "YEAH, I'M IN AN AEROPLANE!" conversations pissing people off.

2) Bandwidth -- half a meg isn't tht bad to route voice calls over but it's not that great either.

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Black Helicopters

@Andy ORourke

"Surely voice calls, internet acces, text messaging have no real difference from an interference point of view"

That depends on the interference you're referring to. It's been known for a long time that a plane's electronics are virtually immune to interference from a mobile phone, particularly one connecting to a cell onboard the plane (rather than one 5 miles away).

If, however, the interference is to the person next to you, then yes voice calls do cause more interference. I don't know how it compares to the Mrs' snoring, or the drone of the engines, but people yapping away is definately annoying: "Hello, I'm on a plane; it's rubbish"

I'm just waiting for them to fit picocells to the black helicopter brigade... do the rotor blades get in the way?

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Silver badge

Think of the cost!

Just make it £2/text and £5/min for voice calls, charging for both making and receiving calls. That way people might try it once but then never again once they've got the bill. Or at least they'll be encouraged to keep it short.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Hang on a minute...

You can differentiate the cattle class customers by account of the fact that they'll be back in London waiting for a different flight - the article clearly says it's a business class-only route.

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Re: Hang on a minute...

re-read the article - the flights will be business class only, there is no economy section.

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Joke

Point of order, m'lud

"British Airways has announced that customers crossing the pond on their new service from City Airport to New York will be able to send text messages and access the internet from the middle of the Atlantic. "

That'll be ABOVE the middle of the Atlantic, then, I presume.

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Boffin

Not quite...

"The new service, which will launch later in the year, is business class only and will stop off in Ireland on the way to America, though the return journey will be non-stop thanks to a following wind"

Not quite. The aircraft in question is an Airbus A318 which has the range in both directions including headwinds (giggiddy). The reason for the stop-over in Ireland is due to London City's weight restrictions - a fully laden A318 wouldn't be allowed to take off from there. However a lightly fuelled one is, and can stop in Ireland (Shannon I believe) for a splash'n'dash. On the way back of course, it's got a lot less fuel in it so doesn't have to stop.

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Anonymous Coward

Voice, no cell not a barrier

Given that this is a "ClubWorld" service those willing to fund the £3500 fare (or thereabouts) won't be dissuaded by cost from picking up the sat phone that's already provided in BA premium class cabins and the Dom Jolly-esque refrain "HELLO? HELLO?" is already a risk to those travellers. Reminds me of a colleague travelling in First closeby another passenger who spent a great proportion of the transatlantic flight using the seatback sat phone - he was probably clocking up enough affiliated BA Miles on his credit card on that call to fund his next flight.

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Alert

nyeh nyeh har har

For sale: one Laptop PC with built in mobile phone jamming transmitter. Ideal for BA Trans Atlantic Flights.

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Thumb Up

Er no

The price on these flights won't be the regular club fair, but about 1/3 of that.

30 people @ £3,000 + 70 people @ £200 = £104,000

If all those people are "in club" the cost need only be £1,040 per seat.

Note the implication that all air travel is basically (90%) paid for by the club and first ticket holders. Now they're asking for better value for money and the answer is to stop flying people in economy at all. The correct government response to this is to remove the fuel subsidies, and sooner or later you get only people who can afford it flying in a reasonable class of accommodation and paying what it actually costs. That sounds like a win to me.

The exception to this is the economy-only airlines (e.g. EasyJet) for whom it will be business as usual.

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Paris Hilton

Ryanair... (and a question for smart readers)

...already allows full wireless/mobile device use once the overhead lights go out. On my last flight the facilty was mentioned during the cabin announcements but no-one seemed to notice. (Or were too embarrassed to use their phone!)

They charge your service provider's roaming rates for calls and standard network charges for texts.

Paris because I expect she's used in-flight telephony for a while.

Oh, a question for the many, many out there brighter than me:

I fired up my TomTom for a laugh on a flight and it showed travel speeds between 500-600mph. However, I couldn't figure out whether the speed was calculated against the map, land surface or based on real speed at the plane's altitude. Had it been land based the real speed would have been faster. If I bothered checking the Boeing tech spec I might have figured it out but then I'd have to convert knot speeds, etc.

My brain started hurting so I stopped thinking about it until I realised some amongst you will show off by telling me either:

a) The real answer so I can show off to those dumber than me.

b) To get a life and stop wasting your thinking time. (Too late.)

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Alert

Ryanair update

I meant to paste the paragraph on their T&Cs and found they had changed since I last flew in November. However, they clearly mean to go on as they started:

"Mobile phones etc

* Ryanair will rollout the technology enabling the use of Blackberry’s and mobile phones for text and voice usage on its aircraft during 2009. Unless specifically authorized by cabin crew through the use of passenger announcements and the specific lighted signs in the cabin, mobile phones may not be used on the aircraft."

No answers to my question yet. What's taking you so long?

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I predict

outbreaks of violence on trans atlantic flights

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Coat

>Ryanair update

They have to fit picoells to the aircraft - which is expensive and time consuming. Because it's an aircraft everything needs high safety standards, not just the safety critical stuff, you can't just get a bloke from halfords to fit it in the tail and wrap a bit of tape around the wiring.

You need to fit the picocells because it upsets the cell towers when 150 people cross into a new one every 30seconds and so you can get a cut of the charges.

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Black Helicopters

answer to Ryanair flyer from a GPS user

The velocity indicated by the GPS will be referenced to ground, not air speed. Pilots need to know both ground and airspeed since the engine power requirements and lift of the aircraft are controlled by the air speed (leaving out factors like temperature and pressure). Strong side winds mean that the aircraft actually crabs and flies slightly sideways when viewed from the ground, although this is rarely noticeable with a jet.

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Anonymous Coward

@Thinking out loud

I'm sorry to be such a pedant, but it all comes down to the quality of the satellite receiver...

Top-end receivers calculate their position in 3D, and if yours was one of these, your speed would have been a true velocity in true miles per hour through space. However, I am lead to believe (and would be happy if there are any other pedants out there who could correct me on this), that lower-end GPS units only measure in 2D and assume that they are at sea-level (or some other arbitrary height). If this was the case, then the speed indicated would have been over stated. In saying this 500 - 600 miles per hour ground speed would appear to be be the norm for a modern airliner.

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Boffin

@@thinking out loud

GPS positioning is inherently a 3D problem (actually four if you count the timing issue) so no, altitude - actually distance above the Earth's center of mass - is always calculated. For purely geometric reasons the vertical measurement errors are typically 3-4 times greater than horizontal ones.

A GPS pedant...

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