Virgin Atlantic Creates In-Air Mobile Network

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Virgin Atlantic is rolling out a service that will allow you to place calls, receive texts, and receive emails (only on Blackberry) via your mobile phone, in flight. Alec Baldwin play your heart out, you can play words with friends the entire flight from NYC to London, almost. You won’t be able to use the service in US airspace or until the plane takes off and the flight attendant makes an announcement.

The service Aeromobile creates a wireless network on the plane that connects to the ground via satellite.

The roll out will begin with the Airbus A340 flying between New York and London. The roll out will continue throughout 2013 until Aeromobile is be available on 13 of their aircrafts.

Terms And Conditions

  • Phone must be activated for international roaming – sounds like it could get expensive
  • Charges are stated to be almost equal to if you were roaming from another country


Can I Access The Internet?

This is technically possible, but we wouldn’t recommend it, as your phone company could charge you a lot to stream all of this data. It could get really expensive if you download all of your Facebook photos. You can avoid any potential nasty phone bills by turning off data roaming.

How Will I Be Charged?

There aren’t any hidden costs. You’ll find the call listed on your phone bill as normal. The costs will be similar to normal roaming charges.

Does It Work Anywhere In The World?

Aeromobile uses satellite technology, which means you’re pretty much covered all over the world. Just like a normal mobile, you might get a loss of signal occasionally, but just like on the ground, you’ll soon be in range of another signal, so just try again.

Some countries like the USA don’t allow mobile phone use in their air space. In these cases, the system will automatically switch off.

How Do I Use The Aeromobile Service?

Aeromobile is an inflight mobile phone service that works just like a roaming service when you use your mobile phone overseas. Just turn on your phone when our cabin crew let you know it’s ok to do it. Your phone will connect to the service automatically, as long as your provider has an agreement with Aeromobile.

If My Phone Is A Pay As You Go, Will It Work?

Yes, as long as you have international roaming.

Bottom Line

Creating an in-flight mobile network is pretty ground breaking stuff. If I only had enough Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to try this out.

Look forward to hearing how the service works once it is off the ground.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Oh boy…it better be REAL EXPENSIVE otherwise I can already foresee someone jibber-jab all the way ’til touch down!

  2. Virgin has “quiet zones” in Upper Class. Will they now need “jibber-jab” zones? While I am not thrilled by this technological breakthrough, I will probably end up using it just like in-flight WiFi. I guess my only refuge will be out at sea and a few mountain tops. 🙂

  3. Standard roaming charges apply. In other words. Expensive – especially if you want to use data.

    Personally, this is one more reason to avoid Virgin…

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